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Meet Jamala: One of Britain’s youngest bankers

SUCCESS: Jamala wants to focus on helping others to be accomplish their dreams

AMBITIOUS 24-year-old Jamala Osman who, after becoming a carer for her two siblings, is now one of the youngest managers in Britain.

The Ilford-born millennial became a manager at a Barclays branch in central London, overcoming devastating bereavement and depression, to soar in a notoriously competitive corporate field.

The beginning of Jamala’s plight came in her early teenage years, when her mother died. Then, by the age of 14, she’d been kicked out her father’s house and subsequently lost contact with her siblings.

Jamala said: “Growing up in Ilford, I was surrounded by gang culture and violence. Life took a turn for the worst when I lost my mother.  I quickly spiralled out of control, playing up in school. (…) I had lost all hope.”

Having reconnected with her siblings at the age of 18, Jamala became a carer to her younger brother and twin sister, in a shocking turn of events. Although she had hoped to pursue music and apply to university, her new responsibilities meant that she had to seek employment as a greater priority.  

Just under three months into her job search, Jamala was accepted onto a highly sought-after Barclays apprenticeship programme in 2012 and the company funded her degree in leadership and management. The struggle of working and studying full time for three years paid off; Jamala graduated, bagged her current role and is regarded as one of Barclay’s best apprentices.

Diversity has been an issue in the UK finance industry for many years. Just 3% of bank managers in the UK are black or minority ethnic (BAME) and 17% are women. As Prime Minister Theresa May’s Race Audit reveals stark disparities in the job prospects of between black and white Brits, Jamala’s tale inspires young black people to continue striving for excellence.

Passionate about social change, Jamala hopes her story can inspire others. She told The Voice: “Through my story, I’d like to show others that you don’t have to let your past hold you back; let it propel you forward. Use it to progress, rather than (have it) depress.

Jamala is a shining example of the #BlackGirlMagic concept, popularised by activist CaShown Thompson as a reminder of the resilience and power of black women. This banker's future looks very bright, indeed.

“Now, I’d like to further my career as much as I can, within leadership at my organisation. Moving forward, in terms of life goals, I just want to (positively) impact as many lives as possible. Be it through the bank or outside as well, such as getting involved in social projects.”

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