Talent Match in North London have had a busy, successful 2014, working on engaging with young unemployed people in the boroughs of Enfield, Haringey, and Waltham Forest. As well as helping over half of our participants complete the programme and achieve positive outcomes, we continue to aid young people with their personal development and help them navigate through the job world.

23 year old Fern Glennie-Smith has been with Talent Match since she moved to Haringey in May 2014. Her time has been spent gaining advice, attending personal development sessions, job skills workshops, 1 to 1 sessions with a mentor, and writing articles for Collage Arts’ newspaper ‘The Quarter’, as well as the Talent Match blog. In 2015, Fern plans to move to Japan to begin a course in Japanese, with a hope to finding her way into the Japanese TV industry, as well as developing her screen writing. Fern has written a few words about her journey with Talent Match London…


I arrived in London in May last year, and started volunteering for The Children’s Air Ambulance Charity Shop in Muswell Hill in July, which was the start of my ‘career’ in London.

Getting a job isn’t easy, especially when you have two passports and a convoluted international educational history like mine.

‘Are you British? Are you American?’

‘I am both.’

‘…I’ll just put you down as British.’

I’m also American though, and having to hide one side of myself to favour the other side of the coin makes me feel sad.

I’ve been trying to find paid work in London as a British citizen, but it hasn’t worked. I’m one of a million others just like me who have grown up here. For me, it’s not because there are a lack of jobs, but rather an inability to get one. “If you want a paid job, you have to have experience in a paid job.” I am looking for my first job ever; hence I have never had a paid job, so how am I supposed to get experience in a paid job if you won’t give me a chance? I’m running in a circle.

I’ve taken work experience opportunities with places like Asda and Savers, but they were never going to hire me. I was working from 9 to 5 for a month each time with the promise of an interview on the horizon and the hope of landing a job once I’ve proved my worth to them. Only then would I find out that the promise was a miscommunication between the store and the Job Centre, the only comfort being that my advisor at the Job Centre got angry about it on my behalf, whereas the whole experience had just left me so beleaguered that I had no energy left, and just sat there sadly. Or the other experience, where I walked out of the store for the last time after inquiring about a job, and never heard back from them.

Why? Why have me help you, if you were never going to help me survive in this world in the first place?

It’s enough to exhaust anyone to the point of quitting. I’m chasing my tail here, not going anywhere. What’s the point of trying, if everything I’ve done so far has proven that it won’t work? People tell me not to give up, my family tells me not to give up, but what’s the point? This isn’t working. Time to try something else.

Joining Talent Match really helped me and it could help you too. My past experiences trying to find work were rather rotten, but I’ve now got a job as a writer on the Talent Match blog. Sort of like a paid internship. They’ve also given me a lot of emotional support. Having job applications rejected time and time again, and being misled by work experience opportunities can wear a person down, but being able to write for Talent Match has made me feel wanted and useful, which feels very rewarding.

I’ve gained self-trust, hope, and a confidence that everything is going to be ok. Now I believe in myself, because the people in Talent Match are taking me seriously and believing in me, which I’m thankful for.

I’m chasing my dreams now, both hands extended.

I look to Japan, the land I’m hopelessly in love with. The land of Tomorrow’s Light, where it is always the future from where I am living now. The land where they omit so much from their spoken language that they rely on context and body language to get the true meaning across. That, in turn, makes them notice people in order to understand them and what they need, which enables their understanding of each other much better than we do in the West.

Of course I know that Japan’s not perfect, nowhere is perfect, but people like me are actually wanted in Japan. In Japan, I am desirable.

That’s why I’m planning to go to Yokohama to study the language, to go to school, to explore, to work, to have fun, to make friends and truly live.

My advice to other young people facing similar issues is: ‘Join Talent Match! It really works. It helped me and it can help you too! Talent Match will help show you the way, and soon you’ll be walking towards your future on your own.”



Talent Match London is a 5-year Big Lottery funded programme led by London Youth. The Talent Match delivery partnership in North London is led by Collage Arts with Rinova, Enterprise Enfield, KORI and Metropolitan. The Talent Match Hub based at the Chocolate Factory in Wood Green N22 is a welcoming space for young people to gather, participate, share ideas and make change happen.

For more info, contact Collage Arts Talent Match Hub.

t: 020 8829 8983 e: [email protected]