Hailing from the islands of the Caribbean, Naveena was quick to make her mark upon arriving in London, taking an active role in the local council and the governing of the college. As a City and Islington College student she wasted no time, taking on dual responsibility as a Student Rep and Ambassador, making genuine, tangible changes around the college.
In March, we sat down with the young politician to talk about her time at CANDI and her plans for the future.
“Being a Student Rep helped me build the skills I need for my career. I asked students what needed to change and the college listened and actually made those changes. I met with the principal and head of schools to talk to them about the changes that should be made and it worked. Last year we made a lot of changes. When you come into the entrance to the college, we never used to have space to sit down so we put forward an idea and now we have the benches.
Naveena also found time to work as a Rep for Equality and Diversity across the college. “The college does a lot to support people who need extra help and I’ve learned many things being a part of that. If someone is disabled, the college has meetings with them to work out what changes they can make for it to be more accessible. If you’ve got an idea for change and reason behind it, the college will do what it can to make it work.”
Naveena does not speak much about her former life and seems firmly grounded in an ambitious future. It has been a big change, she says, namely for the sudden abundance of opportunities to specialise and carve out a role in the local community. Naveena is happy to have stayed in London having progressed onto University this year. She recently told us:
“Queen Mary is exciting and a great new experience. I still miss the Centre for Business, Arts and Technology, though. University is a good opportunity to make friends. There are many internships and mentoring opportunities, which will help in the world of work after.
“I was a mentor with Expedia and also worked with Contino while at City and Islington College. That gave me the best experience to know what to do. Attending various trips and meeting the Royals at CANDI made me active and bold. Now, I’m planning to run in the political elections at university.”
Naveena’s drive has found real focus over the last few years, starting with her election onto the Islington Youth Council in 2017. Never staying still, she made a name for herself around the college through boxing and football extra-curricular activities, later going on to win the Jack Petchey award for collegiate excellence two years in a row.
“The Jack Petchey award comes from a charity foundation that gives a grant to people who perform well in education. The award can be used to fund trips with your class. When I came to the UK I went straight for the Student Rep position and made it clear I wanted to make changes. It let me have an impact around the college. It’s nice that I had those opportunities.
“The staff helped me in many ways. They knew I wanted to do well and were very supportive in giving me extra time and help. My experience at City and Islington College was very successful. It’s a friendly environment that allows you to get what you need to succeed. I’m looking forward to the future.”