Launching a career you love – interview with Kazvare Shire

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Develop outside interests and explore your talents and passions says Kazvare Shire, advice which has seen her work as a barber, study Classics and help young people launch their dream career. She spoke to icould about her own career route and finding a job you love.

Tell us about the job you’re doing now. What does it involve?

I am the programme co-ordinator for a brilliant charity called Spark+Mettle. The programme that I run specifically is called Star Track; it prepares young people (between the ages of 18-24)—who do not have the connections or the resources themselves—to map out and launch a career that they will love.

What is the most exciting aspect of your work?

There are lots of great aspects to what I do; I have the opportunity to work alongside loads of wonderful, talented young people and help them along their career journey. I also like the varied nature of the role; it’s great to have a job that allows me to utilise my creative skills.

Would your classmates from school be surprised at what you’re doing now?

Possibly! I was very arty at school, so I think there may have been a presumption that I would pursue the life of an artist or graphic designer. However, given that I still get to use some of these skills now to some degree, I don’t think my career path would be a major shock.

Was there a teacher who had a particularly strong influence on you and if so in what way?

I was blessed to have lots of great teachers and think that many of the subjects that I enjoyed were the ones that I had great teachers for. There was one teacher though who had a strong influence for all the wrong reasons though! While I was revising for my GCSEs, this teacher told me not to go to extra revision classes because they didn’t think I had what it took to get the highest grade in their subject. I felt down about it at the time, but decided to go to the classes anyway and work hard! I ended up getting an A. Since that time, I so believe that you should not let someone else’s negative words stop you from achieving great things.

What school subjects were you good at and have any been surprisingly helpful later on?

I did Latin at school and went on to do it at university and I loved it (for the most part!). It really helps me now in terms of knowing what some really obscure words mean; I can often break down a word I have never seen before and find the original Latin root words and make an educated guess!

How did you decide what you wanted to do after school?

Whilst I was studying for my A-levels, I was really torn about whether to pursue Classics or Fine Art at university. After a lot of thought, prayer and seeking out wise advice, I decided to pursue Classics.  I finally reasoned that it would be easier for me to return to Art after my Classics degree rather than the other way round. Moreover, Art is in my bones and as it turns out, I still ended up using it in a number of ways thereafter.

And how did you get into your current line of work?

I sometimes think it was slightly by accident! Or at least it wasn’t a well-thought out, rigorous plan! I’ve always enjoyed working with children and young people and often found myself volunteering with organisations that that worked with this demographic. When it came to applying for jobs, I found that it’s all I really wanted to do AND I had the experience to do it.

Did you take a gap year? Did it influence any decisions later in life?

My gap year was one of the best decisions I made! I wanted a break from exams and study pressure for a year and wanted to pursue lots of different things.  So in that year I did things that I’d always wanted to do: I worked  for six months full time in sales and marketing so that I could save some money; I then did a make-up artist course and worked on a few music video promos. I worked in a barber shop, because I had (and still have) the crazy idea that I would make an awesome barber. I did work experience with a couple of notable radio stations as well as smaller ones.  I also went to Thailand for a couple of life changing months to teach English in an orphanage.

In reflection, perhaps this is when I knew that I wanted to work in positions where I could utilise many of my skills and interests, work alongside young people and do work that has meaning.

If you went to university what was your university experience like?

I loved uni. I got really involved with a couple of societies, continued volunteering with youth organisations and made great friends. Oh, I also enjoyed my degree too!

What are you proudest of achieving?

I think getting a distinction in my Masters was a great moment. It just proved that hard work pays off and it’s so much easier when you enjoy what you are studying.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?

Running the world, muhahaha! OK, not quite, but I’d love to still be working with young people, employing my creative talents and writing a bit more. I believe that my job role in ten years’ time doesn’t actually exist yet, but I still have a bit of time to invent it!

I used to stress out so much when I was younger because I didn’t know ‘exactly’ what I wanted to do.  I learnt that sometimes you just need to do something! It’s in doing something you discover what you like and what you don’t like and you will eventually find what suits you. I didn’t know I’d end up where I am now, but I just ‘did stuff’ until I figured out what made me flourish the most.

What advice would you give someone still at school who wants to do what you’re doing now?

Find a brilliant youth organisation that you can volunteer your time with; be sure to develop outside interests and explore your talents and passions. It’s vital to get experience working within the youth sector and I think it’s equally important to bring all your skills and talents to what you do.

Can you give us a link for more information?

Check out Spark+Mettle: www.sparkandmettle.org.uk

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