Skills and Support
Skills and Support
“Be bold, be brave, be confident, just imagine what you may miss by not taking the opportunity.”
Muhammad Khan describes the three months he spent as an intern on Twin's Erasmus+ programme in Valencia as the "best thing to have ever happened to me in my life". And from a young, well-travelled, aspiring playwright like Muhammad, that's quite some testimonial. Little did he know that it also would lead to a paid youth worker role and ignite a passion set to shape his future career.
Brought up in the Netherlands, Muhammad moved to the UK in his early teens and now lives in Ilford. Happily starting his professional career as a concierge in a bank, a significant change of direction came when the pandemic saw Muhammad made redundant at the start of 2021. Just four months later, and as travel restrictions began to ease, the resilient globe trotter was delighted to have been accepted onto Twin's Erasmus+ fully funded internship programme, heading to Spain to teach English as a foreign language (TEFL).
"I was determined to do something constructive with my new-found time," explains Muhammad. "The thought of living independently for a few months in a new county, while gaining a qualification with funding to help me achieve it, was an opportunity too good to miss.
"With my experience of writing and performing, I was warmly welcomed, via Twin, by Valencia Language Club and taught small groups of learners to speak English. I organised groups, planned lessons, created materials, delivered lessons, and undertook Spanish lessons – all valuable employability skills. My accommodation was also only a few minutes' walk away from work, which I welcomed when siesta heat hit 30o-plus!
The Twin Erasmus+ programme – now superseded by the Turing scheme – provides funding for over 18s to access life-enhancing, career-expanding opportunities based in Valencia, Seville, Lisbon or Dublin. 13-week funded placements in digital marketing, hospitality, or teaching English are available to UK residents with related qualifications or experience.
The life experience is transformative, as Muhammad discovered: "I found my happy place in Valencia; living independently, learning to look after myself mentally and physically, and having time to explore new places and friendships. I immersed myself in it – rediscovering my spirituality as I explored the beautiful Mediterranean."
On his return, Twin spotted Muhammad's enthusiasm and talent for communication and quickly recruited him as a seasonal team leader for the leading youth programme, National Citizen Service (NCS). Now working in client services for a concierge company and volunteering on outreach theatre programmes for disadvantaged communities, Muhammad is saving money to reprise his Mediterranean adventure.
He concludes: "My aim is to combine travelling with youth work. I loved my NCS work with Twin and would definitely look to work for them again. Or explore the world, teaching English along the way – with remote working now the norm, the world is my oyster!
"Erasmus+ gave me so much, new experiences and friends, and cemented my future direction. It's easy to say 'just do it' to other young people, but they really should! Be bold, be brave, be confident, just imagine what you may miss by not taking the opportunity."
With the Erasmus internship programme now replaced by the Turing scheme, you can find out more below.