On the evening of Friday 26th May over 30 young people gathered at Bridgestone Arena, NW10 to hear from a panel of Tradesmen working in a range of skilled industries, as part of the ongoing series of Real Talk Events, hosted by the Jason Roberts Foundation (JRF).

It was evident that the speakers had more than one string to their bow with Rui a local building site Manager also a Tennis Coach for JRF, Shaquille, or Shaq as he is known to JRF as their resident Dance Teacher, is a Carpenter by trade, Deon a former footballer and Coach is a Plumber, and Alvin another former professional footballer now an Electrician.

The audience heard about the values of having a trade, and that good money can be earned as there is always a demand for skilled workers. In fact, according to figures from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, wages have risen about 6% as a result of a shortage of skilled tradespeople, including carpenters, groundworkers, bricklayers, plasterers and plant operators in the wake of Brexit and exacerbated by the pandemic.

Shaq gave some good advice about the importance of financial literacy and learning about credit, and Rui spoke about being proactive in seeking and taking opportunities for career development.

The Real Talk sessions are part of JRF’s ‘Passport to Success’ project which is funded by Young Brent Foundation and One Flow One Brent, that aims to give young people an insight into a wide range of industries, and to arm them with the skills needed to compete in the world of work and business.

Shaq who is 24 told the audience, “I took a leap of faith when I left a large company to start my own business. I look after my money and save a lot which has helped me to recently get on the property ladder.”

Alvin said, “I thought football was everything. When I got released (by the Club) I had to do something, to work. I have no regrets in choosing my trade and it has allowed me to plan ahead.”

Deon added, “I wasn’t great in school and my dad was always on to me about getting a trade. Plumbers are in high demand and I’m glad I followed his advice.” 

He encouraged the young people listening to plan ahead in whatever they choose to do. 

JRF have hosted a series of Real Talk sessions as part of the project over the past 6-months, and the success and positive outcomes for the participants continues to grow.

If you are interested in attending future Real Talk sessions please email info@jasonrobertsfoundation.org with the subject header “Passport to Success”