Naman Chandra

Name Naman Chandra
Company Thames Water
Location Virtual
Last Known Job Role  Data Analyst Apprentice

What is your background?

“My name is Naman Chandra, I am a maths graduate from University of Reading. The main barrier for employment is that since I am autistic and since I have a good maths degree, I was invited for lots of interviews, but I wasn’t selected. Employers gave me feedback that my interview went well but they chose someone better maybe it’s because of my lack of confidence due to my autism so, I was struggling and I had to go on universal credit.”

How did you get involved with Movement to Work?

“In spite of having good qualifications I wasn’t getting successful in getting a job and had to be supported by Universal Credit . So, I got involved with Movement to Work through the Kickstart programme, a government scheme to provide young people with work-based opportunities. By the end of my Kickstart programme, one of my mentors nominated me for Movement to Work’s Breakthrough Star award. I attended the award ceremony held in a posh hotel in London and it was a fabulous event. I didn’t win the award but I am very proud that I was nominated for it.”

How has the programme helped you in terms of your employment journey?

“The programme has helped me right from the beginning when I was supported by the employment coach to build my confidence and interview skills. The employment coach offered me a mock interview and gave me very useful feedback and improvements tips. These were very helpful as when I did my real interview in front of the recruiters at Thames Water, they loved it and offered me a 6-month Kickstart data analyst role in Thames Water.

When I got a 6-month Kickstart contract in the bulk metering team, my mentor Rosie Rand at Thames Water was very supportive and understanding. She understood my potential and my special needs. She’s tried to identify suitable tasks and roles for me where I would be most successful. She gave me some reassurance and made me feel calm. During my first week. I learnt a lot about Thames Water because I had to do induction modules which gave me lot of information about Thames Water and how it plans to work in the future.

Following my Kickstart role, I started an apprenticeship with Thames Water. I got lots of support from my line manager and my mentor which shows that I am able to learn from them and get out of my comfort zone when working. I enjoyed working in different teams with different stakeholders and got lots of support and understanding from all the different team members. When Leigh thought that I was working extremely hard in my apprentice and data analysis work, he decided that I should be nominated for the Movement to Work award which was a big achievement to me.”

Do you have any advice for other young people in a similar position to you before your MtW journey?

“I would advise other young people who are currently in a situation like I was that they should actively contact places like MTW and use their networking skills as that really helped me to get a step into my employment journey.Without the support I was given I would not be where I am today.

Also, before my MtW journey other young data analysts said to me that I need to be more passionate about data and data analysis. This would help me fill in the gaps in my data analysis skills so that I can improve my data analysis skills and be able to get a full-time role as a data analyst in the future.”

What would you say to employers to encourage them to join/ give young NEET people a work opportunity?

“I would really encourage as many employers I can to join/ give young NEET people an opportunity as it can change somebody’s life like it did mine. There are lots of young people who have very valuable skills to offer but due to certain barriers are not able to reach their potential. However, once the employers take the young people on they will be amazed to find out that these young people are not only very skilful but probably more passionate and dedicated about their work than they had expected.”