Name
Isha Shakir

Age and location
21, County Durham

What led you to be here today and prompted you to want to join the FVG?

I am determined to remove the barriers preventing young people from obtaining meaningful employment, having overcome some of these barriers personally and been affected by the flaws in the educational system.

Attending a non-selective state school in County Durham, I was told multiple times by my teachers that I was not intelligent enough to go to university. Despite their advice, I studied law at the University of York and I achieved the highest academic score in all three years of study. Additionally, I faced significant racism from fellow students that was unaddressed by my teachers. I found this unacceptable and something that I am determined to change for future generations. I am excited to represent young people generally, as well as the Muslim community and the North East region.

If I had listened to the advice of my teachers, and didn’t have the support I had from my family, I know I would be in a very different place and would not have had faith in myself to reach my full potential. I hope my story can empower young people to believe in themselves.

What are you up to now? (eg. In work/study/looking for work/volunteering)
I am studying for a Bachelors of Civil Law at the University of Oxford. Prior to this, I graduated top of my year with a First Class degree in Law from the University of York. I volunteered for the Citizens Advice Bureau and was awarded the ‘Exceptional Young Volunteer’ award from Darlington Council.

What is most important to you in your life right now?
I am working hard to complete my legal studies to inspire more diverse people to embrace a career in law. I aim to become a barrister. My activism is also important to me; I enjoy addressing societal problems. For example, the Islamophobia I have experienced led me to deliver educational talks in schools.

What sort of changes do you want to be involved in making as part of the FVG?
I want to change the system, removing the barriers that all young people face when seeking meaningful employment. I am particularly passionate about addressing issues those from ethnic minority backgrounds face and pushing for more opportunities for young people in the North East.