MCB's `Footsteps' team along with Ms. Sayeeda Warsi, Shadow Minister for Community Cohesion, Ms. Khalida Begum, an aircraft engineer and Mr. Irshad Akbar, a Business Advisor visited Carlton Bolling College, Bradford on 19th October 2007.
The programme was divided into three sessions, each lasting for an hour. Each role model was given one session to address and inform pupils regarding their circumstances as a child, education and careers. The acting associate headteacher, Mr. Paul Wright, Ms Anna Hyslop who coordinated the event with MCB office and other College staff were present during these sessions.
After a brief introduction of MCB by Dr. Reefat Drabu, the chair of Social and Family Affairs committee (SAFA) and team leader of `Footsteps' project, an interesting documentary `I am a Muslim, get me out of here' was shown to the students.
Pupils were encouraged to ask questions in each session after hearing brief biographies of role models. Pupils were asked to complete an assessment form at the end of each session for analysis to determine the success of this event.
The topic chosen by Ms Sayeeda Warsi was `Overcoming fear of failure'. She said `When my father asked my mum to learn driving back in 1970s, some community elders branded this act as shameful but now these skills are considered to be valuable. When I decided to go to the university, some of my father's acquaintances objected by saying that it is shameful. Now every parent's dream is to send their child to a university. Cultural norms might not reflect true Islamic values and one should be very careful when dealing with such issues. Without trying you would never know your full potential. If you are determined, you can do it.'
Ms. Khalida Begum is the only female engineer in her department of Airbus UK and specialises in co-ordination and management of engineering stress projects to manufacture the wings of an aircraft. She said `I came across hurdles trying to become an engineer but my hard work and determination helped me to achieve goals. We live in an equal society where there are no restrictions on choosing careers by women or men. I enjoy working on aircrafts and get all support from my male colleagues.'
Mr Irshad Akbar is a Business Advisor with Sheffield Enterprise Clusters. He said `I started working as an apprentice mechanic right after my CSE exams. My life was transformed after dropping my brother to his university. I liked the cultured atmosphere and decided to go back to education. Now I hold a post graduate diploma in management studies. These land marks were achieved while I was working to make my ends meet.'
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