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Jacob Cain, City Year London, 2011-12

Volunteer mentor in uniform

Before I joined City Year London, I was completing my finals at Cambridge and was president of a student social action charity.

The biggest influence for me was the opportunity to make a difference to young people’s lives on a daily basis. I had always been interested in community action, education and young people, and City Year provided me with the perfect opportunity to combine those interests and do something special with them.

The biggest highlights for me were the successes my target students had in their GCSEs, the strong relationships within my team, and the wonderful opportunities I had to challenge myself, from running a leadership development programme for students, to hosting talent shows. I also have to mention playing in the team that won two football tournaments, the highlights of my fledgling/floundering football career!

City Year taught me a lot about myself and what I am capable of. Most importantly, it showed me that I could connect with people seemingly very different to myself, and broke down a lot of insecurities I had about myself in a personal and professional sense.

Having since joined Teach First, my experiences with City Year have been crucial in many ways. The confidence that I gained in my ability to connect with young people, the ability that I developed to work with and inspire individuals, and the communication skills that I developed when working with diverse stakeholders, prepared me perfectly for a teaching career.

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