Kajal Odedra Interview

What was your ambition at 14 to 15 when you left school to go to university and did your ambition change?
When I was in school I was really convinced I wanted to be a writer, however, in university, I began to get involved in more politics and see what was going on around the world. I wanted to help people so I planned a trip to Thailand, to help the people there after the tsunami in 2004.

Our school tells us that we all have a talent and that hard work will be what makes the difference and enables us to succeed; is that true?
Yes, it is true but I believe you should also always believe in yourself. You must have faith in yourself, and if you do, nothing can stop you.

What advice would you give to students wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Stand out. It's all about whatever makes you different. Don't blend in and channel your differences. Most importantly, always speak out when you see injustice.

What advice would you have for students worried about university fees and getting into debt, given how competitive the graduate market is?
You can always get student loans and jobs to support you. Campaign for no tuition fees. But don't let the idea of getting into debt put you off.

Do you think degrees are really important now since everyone has one these days?
No. I think that there are more ways to succeed. Work experience is also important, and ultimately, it should be up to you what you want to do.

What skills and qualities would you look for in people you employ?
They would have to be creative. They should be able to come up with solutions to small problems on the spot. They should have a passionate and exciting attitude and they should want to make a change to the world.

For many of us here in Bradford, it seems like the best jobs are in London. What advice would you have for somebody from the North, on how to get started - we can't all necessarily afford/ don't want to move to London?
Nowadays, through technology, you can be remotely based wherever you are and still be able to work for big companies in London.

Successful people often say they had mentors. Who has helped you and what advice would you give to us in that regard?
I definitely believe mentors are important. For me, my older sister was a big mentor. She helped me through my job choice and university, but I wasn't afraid to ask her for help either.

What has been the biggest challenge of your career?
My biggest challenge has probably been people doubting me but from that, I learnt to have faith in myself and to not let people like that get to my head.

Who has inspired you the most in your career?
I have had the pleasure of working with Malala and she has definitely inspired me the most. She's just like everybody else and she's so easy to talk to. I admire the things she has done in her life.

What are you most proud of in your career?
I am proud to know that I have helped young people, single mums and many others change their lives. I am proud to know that without me they may not have been able to get help or be in the situation they are in now.

What is your passion outside of work?
Outside of work, I do enjoy writing stories, about everything.

[Ashalina, Year 8, BUHSL]

Comments are closed.