Future Leaders – Maryam Lukani, Woodford County High School


Based in East London and recently extended to West London, the Future Leaders Programme has set out to equipt yr. 12’s, especially from unrepresented backgrounds,  with the skills and guidance to take the next steps in relation to their career and higher education. Students are provided amazing opportunities such as a wide network of professionals to seek guidance from, a safe space to voice their opinions and let their dreams flourish, and opportunities to form connections with other amazing, selected students who come from diverse backgrounds and are hoping to enter into a variety of different pathways, opportunities to gain confidence and advocate for social justice, and everyone’s favourite, a chance to win 5 UCAS points! 


On Thursday 20-10-2022, students gathered for their second session to be briefed on their amazing schedule for the half term; A trip to Parliament and Westminster Abbey, and then a special team-building day at the O2. An amazing spoken word poem followed this for Black History Month by Ms. Karenne Small, that touched all of the future leaders, and others present. To end, Future leaders played an engaging speed dating/musical chairs game where everyone had the opportunity to get to know one another better.


However, one of “the most memorable” moment for Sarah Begolli (a participant of the future leader’s program), was when one of the alumni ( a panel of students who were the previous “future leaders”), Sarah Misraoui spoke about her journey with the future leader’s programme. She described how she changed her career choice to one she was more comfortable with, despite the opinion of those around her, all the while, battling hearing loss. She describes her journey as “life-changing” given that she gained the confidence to choose a path different to the one that she had initially set out to do. She also explained about the day she received her hearing aids and coincidentally had a future leader’s event to attend. On that very same day, a deaf guest had been invited to speak. This gave her confidence in her, new-found, superpower. This programme will run for 6 months after which, in the end, students with high attendance will get to “graduate” from Oxford University. 


Faheem Khan, Founder of the Future Leaders programme,  aims for his future leaders to have gained a “deep sense of civic responsibility and a passion for championing equality and diversity” after the completion of the programme, as well as,  a clearer vision of their post 18 pathways by helping secure “university and apprenticeship places”. After the first few sessions, Mr Khan expressed “utter pride” to see young people passionate about “improving their local community and standing up for what’s right”. 


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