I can help, I’ve been there myself

Hamza, Lloyds Scholar - University of Birmingham

When helping someone it is always easier if you’ve been in their shoes, know what they’re going through, and can advise the best way to get past a problem. This has been the driving force behind the volunteering that Hamza Afandi, currently studying Economics, has done as part of the Lloyds Scholars programme.

Hamza remembers the position he was in just a few years ago when, having been disappointed with his AS Level exams, the idea that he would ever get to university seemed absurd. Hamza puts some of his success down to the Lloyds Scholars programme that he is part of which provides financial sup-port, a dedicated mentor and employability opportunities to talented undergraduates. In return Hamza is required to spend at least 100 hours each year volunteering in his local community and he is deter-mined to use his experiences to help more people like him to enjoy the opportunities he has had.

One of the most important volunteering experiences Hamza has had was helping at one of the Lloyds Scholars Assessment Centre, in which applicants are put through their paces to try and get a place on the prestigious programme.

Hamza said: “They were exactly where I was just a year before, and it was an incredible experience be-ing on the other side.” Hamza gave a talk to the whole group, and worked individually with applicants to ensure they performed as well as they could.

Hamza knows that he would not have been able to do this without the support of the Lloyds Scholars programme, and the confidence he has built up through his volunteering work. “The feeling you get being able to help someone is fantastic. In many ways I’ve gained as much from volunteering as the people I’ve helped.” It has also given Hamza a clear direction into the future, as he is determined to build a career based around helping people, as he has been doing so effectively in the past two years.