On Monday at City Hall three Tower Hamlets residents, Paula Evans, Mohammed Rahi and Laila Islam, received recognition of their outstanding achievement as apprentices at City Gateway. All three individuals have overcome very difficult circumstances to forge a path towards employment and are changing their communities at the same time.
Paula Evans, awarded Outstanding Achiever of the Year 2011, battled personal tragedy, physical abuse and exclusion from mainstream schooling. With the help of City Gateway, she has secured a full-time job with Canary Wharf Group. Paula says, ‘It is unbelievable that despite my background I am in the position I am and without City Gateway's support this would not have been the case.’ Her manager says of her, ‘She shows enthusiasm, initiative and maturity way beyond her years. It is an absolute pleasure to have Paula in our team.’
Mohammed Rahi was the victim of racially motivated attacks at school and started hanging out with the wrong crowd at home. Since training with City Gateway, he has been inspired to help other young people in similar situations, giving talks at pupil referral units and encouraging young people to value their education. The ESF have recognised Mohammed’s exceptional progress with the award for Progression onto an Apprenticeship.
Laila moved to England from Bangladesh at the age of just 17. In the last year Laila has made a great success of her education at the City Gateway Women’s Project, in English, IT and Public Speaking whilst still managing to look after a family of five. Laila now works in a local school and liaises with other isolated women in the community; the ESF have awarded Laila with the Adult Learner of the Year 2011 in recognition of all her hard work.
Eddie Stride, CEO at City Gateway said of their success, ‘The achievement of our award winners is incredibly inspiring. The awards recognise both their outstanding achievements and the role they play as positive examples in their communities and peer groups. Big congratulations are in order for all of them.’