Areeba received the Intermediate Apprentice of the Year Award at the event on 4 November. On a night when several oustanding apprentices were recognised, Areeba stood out, becoming the first ever Multicultural Apprenticeship Awards winner to receive a standing ovation.
Areeba’s story was read out as she received her award, highlighting the numerous traumatic life events she has endured and overcome. The audience heard how Areeba’s father was killed in Pakistan shortly before she was born, that Areeba and her mother experienced domestic violence after seeking asylum in the UK, and that Areeba was taken into foster care at the age of 16. Areeba said she wanted to make her late father proud, and that this had been the driving force for her hard work to complete her apprenticeship.
Everyone in attendance was moved by Areeba’s story, leading to the emotional standing ovation and plenty of tears around the room.
Areeba is now determined for her award win to not be ‘the end’, but a new beginning; she wants to use her story to inspire others.
We spoke to Areeba about how it felt to win the award and how she wants to use this success.
How did it feel to win the award and receive a standing ovation on the night?
Areeba: “When I won the award, it was a massive shock to me, as there were many inspirational individuals in my category that deserved as much recognition as I did.
“I remember being quite emotional when I was announced as the winner – everything else became a blur. However, when I was the first ever winner to receive a standing ovation from every person in the room, I felt as though I had made it in life. I will cherish that moment more than when I actually received the award.
“I believe that no matter how many awards or titles you receive in your lifetime, your most important role is to make an impact on people, and I had done just that.”
How do you want to use your award win to inspire others?
“Through winning this award, I want to inspire others. No matter what situations or hardships you face in life, they are not as powerful as you are, and you can achieve anything you want when you put your heart and mind to it.
“Being Intermediate Apprentice of the Year, I feel that I now have a responsibility to empower others, especially those that have been through similar situations to myself. By winning this award, I became an advocate for children in care who feel as if they have no voice and no future, and I broke down the judgement that society has about children in care, which makes me very proud.”
The annual 16 Days of Activism campaign, which raises awareness of gender-based violence and domestic violence, is currently taking place. Would you like to share a message for those who may be experiencing domestic violence and abuse?
“To those that are experiencing domestic violence, I want to say that it’s not your fault, although it may feel as though it is. Domestic violence cases often go unreported, but they are much more common than you would think. There is support available at various levels and platforms and from many people; those who can help you may not necessarily be your family or friends, but they are those who care about you. Don’t let perpetrators define who you are – learn that you can live your life as you want and be who you are.”
Following the Multicultural Apprenticeship Awards, Areeba has already been contacted by several people and invited to speak at various events. From apprentices and learners to those living in care and asylum seekers, there are so many people who can take inspiration from Areeba’s story. There will surely be many more successes to come for Areeba as she continues to progress in work and life.
Supporting further education staff and learners who may be experiencing domestic violence and abuse is an important part of the Skills and Education Group’s professional development programme. View details for our upcoming ‘Why does trauma matter?’ event here. We also offer bespoke training programmes on ‘Why does trauma matter?’ and ‘Raising awareness of domestic violence and abuse’ – you can find more information on our Training page.