People ask me, how did it start? Why did I want to take part in GoTeach? A key driver is my own childhood and time at school. As a teenager I took the wrong path and didn’t think about my future. Through GoTeach, I have the chance to give students the advice and guidance that no one gave me and I felt that I could make a difference.
Growing up in Oldham, Manchester, I was seen as a lost cause, a teenager from a broken home who wouldn’t make something of his life. I left school at only 14 and one bad decision after another just landed me in more and more trouble. Something clicked when my daughter was born in 2007 – I realised I had to knuckle down and work as I had someone else to look after, not just myself. I started working in construction but during the credit crunch work dried up and I started looking into getting my truck driving licence. DHL then came along. Since joining, I have actually left twice as I wanted to run my own business. But life is full of twists and turns and I decided 5 years ago to apply for an FLM position at Supply Chain – the best decision I could have made.
I have openly shared my current struggles with mental health and I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support from my line manager Andrew Beckett, the well-being team and the fantastic people at DHL who got me the support I needed. Others may not have believed in me, but I knew from an early age I was capable of being in the position I am today.
What made me sign up?
In the summer of 2021, the opportunity came up to become a ‘GoTeach Champion’ for the DHL UK Foundation. A GoTeach Champion builds a lasting relationship with a partner school local to them and delivers GoTeach activities to its pupils. This role felt perfect as I wanted to give something back and share my story with those it could help. The Foundation partnered me with Waterhead Academy in Oldham, which was part of my high school growing up.
Oldham is one of the most deprived areas in the UK and has very little options for school leavers that aren’t academic. It’s very easy for teenagers to go down the wrong path into crime, gangs and drugs. Showing students other options is important. I felt an immediate connection to Waterhead Academy as I know the area and know the support they need. Through GoTeach, I can bring something out in them they didn’t know they had. They have so much potential but are not always given the same opportunities.
An important lesson that I also want to share with students via GoTeach, is constant opportunities to progress. Over a 12 year period of working for DHL, I have been able to progress from a Home delivery driver to a transport first line manager. I now hold the operator’s licence for the site at which I work and most recently I have just started working towards my Math’s and English GCSEs whilst I work towards completing a foundation degree for operations management through DHL. When I left school, this is something I didn’t think I would achieve.
There are always going to be a few challenges when you go into a school. It’s an unfamiliar environment you are probably not used to being in but this shouldn’t stop you.
I let my own self-doubt get in the way at the beginning. Preparing for GoTeach sessions I was comfortable with but then I would arrive at the school, stand at the front of the room with all eyes on me. It made me think ‘what gives me the right to be here?’. But once you get going it all falls together. Imposter syndrome can come in but then you start seeing the kids interacting and relating to you. It’s truly amazing.
There are so many highlights during my time with GoTeach. You see the students engaged and taking something from it. We had extra time at my last session so we ended up just chatting! They were the same age as my son, so we talked about what they want to be when they are older and the video games they are playing. I would say to anyone if you get the opportunity to do it, do it. You come away feeling absolutely brilliant and the Foundation are always there for support, they are approachable and supportive.
If I could describe GoTeach in three words it would be excellent, enjoyable and engaging.
I am always looking for more colleagues to support with my partner school so if you are near Oldham, please reach out!