Jamala @ Barclays0Jamala Osman, Leadership & Management Apprentice at Barclays
Time for a change
Upon leaving Sixth Form at Loxford School with A Levels in Drama, Maths and Economics, Jamala Osman, now 23 from Ilford, was unsure of her future. Jamala was in her early teens when her mother passed away, after which she was kicked out of her home by her father and lost contact with her whole family, so soon school was no longer a priority for her. Jamala explains: "I felt that I was going down a very negative path with no purpose, hanging around with the wrong crowd, and making bad choices. I knew I needed to make a change, so when I heard about the opportunity of an apprenticeship with Barclays I felt that my prayers had been answered. Not only would I be able to work and ensure stability in my personal life, but I could get a degree at the same time." Jamala started a Degree Level Apprenticeship in Leadership & Management at Barclays in 2012. She has excelled at every step of the way, surpassing even her own expectations when she became one of the youngest Branch Managers in the country in 2015.
Leading the way
Jamala currently leads a team in a busy Central London branch of Barclays, and has a wide range of responsibilities. She explains: "As a leader, I need to create and sustain a working environment that brings the best out of my team every day. I spend a lot of time developing individuals, helping them achieve the branch goals as well as their personal ambitions." In addition to her people leadership skills, Jamala has developed her financial management responsibilities, and mus ensure that her staff are compliant and following regulation to minimise operational risks. She adds: "We have just under 6,000 customers here so I am also responsible for ensuring my team are helping them with their financial needs and goals." On top of the range of technical knowledge Jamala has gained, she has added to her bank of softer skills including leadership, communication, organisation and resilience.
Despite flourishing in her role, Jamala admits that at the beginning it is difficult to juggle studying and working full time. However, with the support of her line managers and lecturers, and after adapting to her own routine, she learnt how to strike the balance. Jamala explains: "For me it was a case of being organised and productive during work and study days, it's trial and error at first. In my final year of university, I got promoted to Branch Manager, I got a very strong end of year review at work, and managed to get a First in my degree that year. So, it's possible to succeed in both."
As a result of her apprenticeship, Jamala has gained a degree in Leadership and Management, and is a qualified Mortgage Advisor with a Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice (CeMAP). She won a competition within Barclays to attend the One Young World 2015 summit in Bangkok which brought together 1,300 young leaders from 196 different countries to discuss issues with world leaders, CEOs and activists such as Kofi Anaan and Sir Bob Geldof. She was the first Barclays apprentice to attend the summit. Thinking back on how far she has come, Jamala says: "Even though I have always loved Maths, as a young person from a disadvantaged background I never believed that I could be working for a bank. Also, I would never have been able to imagine that I would become one of the youngest Branch Mangers in the country at the age of 21." Jamala says her outlook on life has changed as a result of her apprenticeship, she no longer sees challenges or obstacles as negative things, rather as opportunities to learn and grow. Looking to the future, Jamala says she wants to keep learning and developing. She explains: "I see myself as a Senior Team Leader at Barclays in the future and I have no doubt that Barclays will help me achieve this."
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