This may be the first you’ve seen of Charlotte Steggz, but it certainly won’t be the last. Charlotte, The Employability Queen, is a force to be reckoned with - and one I’m positively thrilled to be working with in the near future (hashtag exclusive there, kids)! She’s on a mission to help young people gain skills to make the workplace an easier place to navigate and feel comfortable and confident in, as well as fighting for social mobility through education. Based in Cambridge, which is where I’m from - check my passport if you don’t believe me - she’s also the founder of the #YesWeCamb hashtag, so she’s clearly a fan of an excellent pun, and the Cambridge Japanese Circle Essentially, we’re kindred spirits, and I am in awe of her work. Find out more with her answers today:
What are you enthusiastic about?
Breaking down barriers to success, mainly in young people. There are so many things that prevent them from being able to access success, from austerity measures to social media causing anxiety, to pressures of an exam-based education. Through everything I do, both inside work and outside, I try to have a positive impact on those around me; especially young people.
How many people grew up not really being taught how to write a CV, or to do an interview? How many people still can't budget or network as adults? Through my blog I talk both about what we can do to help young people grow up with more access to success, while also giving people information that was missed from our education, allowing my readers access success as well.
Why do you keep doing what you're doing?
I actually grew up in the working class town that I work in now, and we weren't well off either. I remember my parents really struggling to make ends meet and having to go without in order to provide for me. Then, my dad got a promotion and we moved to a much better place and everything changed. Suddenly I had access to really cool things, like free Japanese lessons...and that ultimately helped me go to university and do really cool things myself (like work at Nintendo!) Knowing where I came from and how lucky I have been makes me want to work towards a level playing field for young people.
The students I work with make me want to work harder. I want to give them access to workshops, activities, art galleries, motivational talks... all the things given to other students. Seeing how unfair life can be, makes me want to make things better for these outstanding young people.
What's the impact you want to make?
I don't think it's quantifiable, but I want to create resources (hey, publishers!) aimed at young people, giving them everything they need to get ahead, at a pocket-money price. I also want to work with adults on how to understand the younger generations; I hear so much negativity and misinformation, that they are "snowflakes" and don't know how to work hard. The truth is that young people have more stress put on them than ever before, what with social media also playing heavy on their mental health. We need to try to understand the minds of gen z in order for our society to thrive.
Best advice you've ever been given?
When I was first going to live in Japan, someone told me that the key to learning the language is "don't ever just sit in your room; go outside. Even if it's just to buy an apple". When I finally lived there I made extra efforts to talk with anyone and everyone, and soon became fluent.
The power of networking makes us stronger and allows us to work together to reach our goals. In Cambridge I've created two communities; Cambridge Japanese Circle - a conversation group with over 100 members, meeting each week to chat in English and Japanese, and #YesWeCamb, a group created through Instagram that supports each other in our goals, goes on trips together (gotta get those Instagram shots!) and above all promotes collaboration over competition on Instagram. Even just with my own projects, one of the people in the group kindly came to talk to some students with learning difficulties about having her own creative business and how they could do the same too, I have another friend from the group who is helping me run a confidence workshop for 13 year olds, and two others very kindly want to come and help teach students how to cook delicious meals on a tight budget!
Who's your Enthusiastic hero?
It has to be Emma Gannon. Her writing and her projects are shaping how we, as millennials, work. I love the resources she creates, and how confidently she talks about how the working world should be. What Emma is to millennials, I would like to be for Gen Z.
If money were no object, what would you be doing?
Firstly, I would not quit my job. I LOVE what I do and even if I won the lottery tomorrow, you wouldn't find me handing in my notice. However, I'd like to pay for two things:
1. A degree/masters in psychology. I'd love to look more into how things like social media, poor diet and poverty affect our young people.
2. Pay people to publish my book! I'm loving writing The Ganbaru Guide (a guide to help young people with everything from CV writing to choosing between apprenticeships and university) but finding a publisher is tiring work. I spend a few hours each week researching people and then sending out my proposal, but I would love to skip all that and be able to create this myself!