4 months, 3 weeks ago ‘Inspiring Success’ one year on

Hear from Clayton Thomas employee at Here East, successful in his application to the 'Inspiring Success' programme last year.

Launching next week (3rd & 4th of July 2017), ‘Inspiring Success’ is an initiative developed by Loughborough University London and the London Legacy Development Corporation that offers local graduates an opportunity to take prepare to take a big step into a graduate career. Local graduates are eligible to apply and be considered for a 100% scholarship for a Postgraduate Taught (Masters) course at Loughborough University London, based in Here East.

The two-day programme is filled with free workshops and talks designed to give graduates access to professional business advisors for personalised support and guidance during the programme. The scheme has been designed for local graduates (who graduated between 2012 and 2016), are unemployed or earning less than £570 per week, and who studied for their GCSEs or A-levels in Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets or Waltham Forest, with aims of supporting the local community.

We spoke to Clayton Thomas member of the Here East team and recipient of one of the ‘Inspiring Success’ scholarships in 2016. Clayton is studying a two year part-time Masters course (MSc Managing Innovation in Creative Industries) with a 100% scholarship whilst working full time at Here East.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got to Here East?

Before I joined Here East, my journey consisted of travelling to 17 destinations including Brazil, USA, and Italy. At these locations, I was football coaching and pursuing ventures in the entertainment industry. I heard about Here East though a recruitment outreach event that they delivered in my local area, Tower Hamlets and I officially started at Here East in November 2015. I immediately knew that I wanted to work for Here East and was very impressed, I still remember that day! I have a passion for innovation and from my understanding, Here East wanted to form diverse teams to contribute to generating innovative ideas and from that moment, I knew I wanted to be part of the Here East project in any way, shape or form. 

How did you find about ‘Inspiring Success ‘and how are Here East supporting you?

I found out about Loughborough University London and ‘Inspiring Success’ through speaking to previous students. They told me about the courses they were studying, the skills workshops and the scholarship, and I just felt I need to be a part of this. The flexibility of the programme has meant I could continue to work at Here East and I am incredibly grateful as I am working and studying a Masters on the same site. It has allowed me to network with ambitious inspiring people which has been a catalyst to my achievement. It’s been a challenging year in the sense of changing my working time table, decreasing leisure time and sacrificing weekends. However, Here East have been supportive by permitting study leave and allowing me to ask a range of questions regarding business culture and strategy. This has been very helpful in understanding the theoretical approaches used in innovative organisations.

Tell us about your day-to-day activities/role at Here East:

My daily activities at Here East include the engagement of tenants and visitors, establishing and updating standing operating procedures for reception as well as monitoring the front of house area. This includes liaising with the lift service provider for faults and technical issues, working with the service provider for the AV screen; which includes updating weekly reels for BT Sports, Studio Wayne McGregor, Signal Noise and Here East. The updating of weekly reels involves technical IT skills learned and developed on site. Taking part and supporting high profile events including volunteering and going above beyond the call of duty.

How have you managed to balance working with studying?

Studying and working simultaneously has been challenging. Outside of work I am also very active and help local charities and also do volunteering. I have been helping a local charity in Bethnal Green called ‘Ambassadors’, the organisation is sports related, helping fathers that are unemployed back into work by building social skills. Also on the volunteering front, I have recently helped at an LLDC apprentice event, contributing to the running of the event. This entailed attending meetings, working as a team and outsourcing talent for the event.
My children like me are very sporty, we play football, tennis, basketball, swimming, hockey and running. I have recently set up an Instagram account showcasing my eldest child’s skills: asiamaire4658. Weekends are used predominately for activities, during the studying semester balancing all the commitments is very challenging and sacrifices are made to stay on top of everything. On occasions, long nights in the library are vital to complete assignments, then early morning starts at work are the hardest part.

Do you have any tips for anyone interested in working full time and studying part time?

Personally I find planning and remaining focussed is fundamental when studying and working simultaneously. The most important factor is to stay up to date with both commitments, the working environment is forever changing, demanding flexibility and the ability to adjust when required. Therefore, the most difficult aspect of studying is when deadline dates approach, during this period stress levels fluctuate, resulting in tense moments. During the ‘Inspiring Success’ programme, we learnt about positive thinking and the significance of a positive mind-set as well as resilience. This was also invaluable in the context of job hunting and career development, the ability to remain composed has served an integral role in coping with pressure.

What are your favourite things about Here East (and why)?

The most enjoyable factor of working at Here East is the networking and meeting inspiring, selfless tirelessly hard working people. It somewhat sets the benchmark for the determination and desire needed to accomplish goals/objectives. The support I have received has been incredible, the contributions of all the Here East family has allowed me to prosper and is a concrete step in my career path.

What are your favourite things about being at Loughborough University London (and why)?

Loughborough University London has provided me with the opportunity to educate myself at a Masters level which I am extremely thankful for. Also, at Loughborough based at Here East, I’m able to meet fantastic like-minded people striving for success from different backgrounds and cultures - this is very inspiring. The factors above align with my hobbies making it an even more pleasant experience. I would like to repay all the efforts and support the organisations have given me by becoming a vital part of the organisation, offering my skills and expertise, and I am exceedingly grateful for the opportunities presented to me because of partaking in the ‘Inspiring Success’ programme. I must urge all local graduates to apply – it is a once in a lifetime opportunity!

To find out more about Inspiring Success, apply or to see if you are eligible, please check out the Loughborough University London website: here - you can also email


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