Talat Jehan studied Human Resource Management at London Met, completing his postgraduate diploma in 2012. Since then, he has moved back to his home country Pakistan, where he has worked with organisations including the United Nations and the Scout Movement, and has collected a string of accolades and awards including a Presidential Medal of Merit and Certificate by the President of Pakistan and a British Council Fellowship Award.
I understand you were working most recently for the United Nations – what were the highlights of the role?
I worked with the United Nations on a community-focused radio project as a project coordinator. It was aimed at identifying youth needs and problems, especially within marginalised communities where there are few opportunities. My main role was the overall project coordination – ie planning, reporting and arranging training for young people on radio production, broadcasting, scripting and hosting. I also conducted seminars and workshops to share the project's progress, liaising with different UN agencies, government departments, NGOs/civil society and most importantly, with youth groups. Engaging local media to highlight these young volunteer achievements was also important.
Can you tell us a bit about your background and why you chose to study here?
My elder brother is also a master's degree holder from London Met. As London is considered one of the main financial capitals, and because there are a lot of work and study opportunities I decided to come to London. I had also heard about the sports facilities available at London Met, badminton in particular. My brother’s views about London Met were very encouraging, and I love sports, especially cricket and badminton.
When I started at London Met I come across very supportive course leaders, and with their support and the help of London Met fellow students I successfully completed my degree.
The study and work experience I had while in London is still helping me, as it taught me how to survive on my own and to manage and maintain a work-life balance, which is not that common here in Pakistan. What I loved about the London was the diversity, multiculturalism, professionalism and work/study-related opportunities.
After completing my postgraduate degree and upon my return to Pakistan, I started my professional career with Balochistan Boy Scouts Association, an autonomous body working on the growth of scouting, youth-led projects/activities and working with different United Nations bodies. I worked professionally on a full-time basis with the scouts and took part in several voluntary events such as education/school enrolment campaigns, tree plantings, arranging youth seminars/workshops, scount and volunteer training, cleaning campaigns and peace walks.
Can you tell us a bit more about where you were living whilst you studied?
My brother and I had a shared flat initially at Turnpike Lane, as it was near to London Met (Piccadilly Line, around a 10-15 minute commute), and later we moved to Enfield. Both of the areas were very good in terms of facilities, especially the sports facilities. Initially I started badminton in London Met's multi-purpose hall with the coach and other students/players. Later I joined a cricket club near Southgate station, the Old Minchendenians Cricket Club. I played a whole season for them and luckily was the highest run scorer, for which I was awarded a club souvenir.
What were the facilities like at London Met?
I liked the library and study facilities where I spent my most of the time while I researched and completed my management research report. And of course I liked the sports facilities!
All the course leaders as well as the admin staff were very helpful, and helped me even in my most difficult times, whenever I requested guidance and support.
I understand you have done a lot of volunteering work. Can you explain a bit more about this?
I love to be a part of different voluntary activities and luckily my professional work was related to promoting volunteerism by engaging and training young people. From time to time I try to arrange such activities during the weekends. For instance, last week we had an enrolment/education awareness walk with young scouts, volunteers and teachers where we walked for 1.6km to raise awareness among the general public to send their children to schools and get educated.
In the coming week with the help of scouts/volunteers, we are starting a tree planting campaign along with a wall and city beautification campaign. Each and every volunteer initiative is quite satisfying because our main aim is to bring about positive change in our society.
Sometimes mobilising people is difficult because everyone is busy in their work, and gathering people for any cause is not that easy, but I now have links with many people from different backgrounds and with those who also want to promote positive change. Every activity is a learning process. What I have learnt from this experience is that to bring about a positive contribution, we first have to start with our own selves and set examples for others to follow.
I understand you’ve won some awards. Can you explain a bit more about these?
My previous organisations and a few others where I've helped with voluntary activities were kind enough to recognise my efforts and give me a few awards, including:
- A Presidential Medal of Merit and Certificate by the President of Pakistan
- A British Council Fellowship award 2018 – I was subsequently offered a free online course/assignment from the University of Oxford (thanks to the British Council, Pakistan)
- A Social Impact Finalist award from the British Council, Pakistan
What did you like best about your HR course?
What I most liked about the HR course was the combination of the London Met degree and the learning, as well as the accreditation/recognition from the CIPD (Charted Institute of Personnel and Development). The course leaders were very helpful throughout, and the majority of the students were experienced professionals working full-time in different organisations. So it was a great experience to learn from the course leaders as well as from the other students.
Did anything surprise you about your course or London Met?
I loved the Holloway campus location, especially during weekends when flocks of people travelled to the Arsenal stadium for football matches.
What did you really love about living in London?
There are a lot of fascinating places to visit. What I most liked and admired were the historic, beautiful buildings converted into shops, banks and other prominent places.
I had a night-work shift for nearly two years and during weekends I then had to go directly to the cricket ground to play for my cricket club in the morning. By joining the cricket club it also gave me an opportunity to play cricket in different parts of the countryside and in various grounds.
Did you find it easy to make friends at London Met? Have you kept in touch?
Initially it was different for me to be in such a diverse environment but after time I made some good friends, with whom I am still in touch. We still contact each over email, phone and WhatsApp.
What is the next stage in your career? How do you think London Met has helped you to achieve your success today?
After successfully completing my 16-month assignment with the United Nations, I recently joined the government sector, which is a good opportunity to learn and bring further improvements to my professional work. I'm still volunteering with the scouts, and planning to join them on full-time basis in the near future. Recently during a scouts conference, I shared a few presentations related to leadership, management, motivation and training and development, because this is what I studied and learnt. The learning methods adopted by London Met were very helpful, and I still remember what I studied, because I am still using them today.
I've actually applied for the CIPD Level 7 course at London Met – because my past experience and interaction with the Uni was very satisfactory. If someone asks me where you studied and where you would like to advise us to go, my answer is always London Met.
I'd actually suggest that London Met has an admissions desk each year in Pakistan, for which I would love to volunteer and share my experiences here and motivate others to come too. Thank you London Met!