If you asked me 5 years ago if I would ever consider starting a podcast or even put myself on youtube, I would’ve said a big big NO, even if you said this to me 6 months ago my answer would’ve been the same!
In a time where our young Muslims are exposed to a lot of negativity and pressures, whether that’s from family expectations or the toxicity of social media telling us we need to be a certain way and exposing us to an artificial standard we can never meet, it can have a big knock on effect on our confidence and belief! I personally recall being caught up in that noise and losing a lot of positivity and confidence. It is vitally important for our young people that we have more positive influences on these platforms to instill that confidence and build belief.
From a social mobility perspective working as an Early Talent Manager there is a lot of talk on social mobility and supporting people from disadvantaged backgrounds, having done a lot of outreach work in my role which involved engaging students from disadvantaged backgrounds I’ve met a lot of bright young people who I feel with a bit more confidence and belief can go on to achieve amazing things. Although these events were diversity focused I found that I only used to see a small number of Muslim students attending or actively participating which got me thinking why isn’t there more engagement here? Is it a lack of knowing what opportunities are actually out there or is it a feeling of not seeing oneself belonging or fitting into these work environments?
These are questions we need to find the answers to. We need a platform to able to create a voice for our young Muslims when it comes to these social mobility discussions. I recently came across the report about social mobility challenges young Muslims face and was wondering why there hasn’t been more done about this issue, we don’t usually hear about it being spoken about either.
My main message to students when delivering outreach was always you need to be yourself to become the best version of yourself to drive real representation. For Muslims especially if we want to make a positive change in our communities then we need real representation in positions of authority and that starts by instilling confidence and building the belief in our young Muslims to enable them to become the best versions of themselves to go on to achieve excellence in their careers.
The way to find out who you are is by stepping out of your comfort zone as that is where you will grow and establish your values. It is easy to say but harder to do in practise. I found it difficult recording myself on video and uploading it onto youtube where everyone can see it! I realised this was me stepping out of my comfort zone once more and whilst it may certainly not be perfect it is important to set an example. If somebody like me can do this then I imagine there are many many young Muslims reading this with amazing potential, who with a bit more confidence can go on to achieve big things in their careers.