My friends used to call me ‘moonstruck’ – at least that’s the best translation I can think of. I love looking at the sky, and the stars, and I loved physics in high school. I graduated as an electrical engineer in Pakistan.
I worked in various jobs, including as a remote manager for a UK company. In 2021 I arrived in the UK, and I applied for asylum. I couldn’t work while my claim was being processed for the first year.
Most people think that living in home office accommodation is living the dream. But it’s not. It’s really hard to sit there day after day feeling stressed and worried, and not being able to use your brain and work.
After one year, I was allowed to apply for permission to work as I had been waiting for more than 12 months for my claim to be processed through no fault of my own. I am fortunate that engineering was on the shortage occupation list and I could work as a fibre optics engineer. This meant I was able to travel to lots of places around the UK – including accessing the rooftop of one of the tallest buildings in London where the view was amazing!
It was while I was searching for a new job that I came across Breaking Barriers. I kept getting to final interviews, some with prestigious companies, but I couldn’t get past this stage. I needed to build a network and understand what I could do differently.
Maria, my Employment Advisor, was my breakthrough. She connected me to lots of different organisations and people – some helped me with interview practice, while others helped me to understand different industries.
The mock interviews really helped and I’m now on a graduate scheme at a process automation company! It’s a good feeling to have something to do. To not just be sitting there idle and stressing. It’s good to have a sense of security. I get to work in lots of different departments and I’m hoping I’ll be able to specialise in project engineering. Perhaps there will also be the option to complete a Masters one day.
My dream is to become a Project Director – maybe even for a project that would get me into space so that I could visit Mars!