University graduation photos can be found on the mantlepiece of proud parents and grandparents across the country, capturing the reward of years of hard study, and a ticket to a prosperous professional career in adult life.
However, a documentary aired on BBC2 on Monday 29th July, 9pm, charts the journey of young people from working class backgrounds, and the struggles they can face breaking into the professional workplace.
Elvis Siaw – who joined our Transformation Change Hub as a Business Analyst Apprentice back in October 2018 – features in the documentary, and explains how he found an open door at Santander when others were closing around him.
“I graduated from The University of Birmingham with a 2.1 degree in Political Economy, coming from a state school in Dagenham where few students went on to University. I was extremely proud and excited about the possibilities that lay ahead of me, not realising that graduating was just the first hurdle.”
“The premise of the documentary is that graduates with equivalent qualifications have disproportionate opportunities, depending on their social background. However, the experience I had with Santander was the polar opposite to other organisations I was applying to join.”
“The interview process was a collaborative experience with other aspiring graduates, where we weren’t made to feel like we were competing against each other, but working together. Assessments were tailored to Transformation and Change competencies, so I really got a feeling I was being measured for the skills I would be applying in the role. Most importantly, the whole process felt transparent and meritocratic throughout. I didn’t hesitate for a second when I was subsequently offered a role.”
'How to Break Into The Elite' aired on BB2 at 9pm on Monday 29th July but you can also catch it on BBC iPlayer.