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Employer blog: Darrell Sharpe, Aviva Investors

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June 17, 2022 | Paula Kemp


In celebration of Social Mobility Awareness Day, which took place on 16 June 2022, we are sharing stories from some of the organisations that are committed to bringing about positive change.  
Our third blog comes from Darrell Sharpe, Junior Sovereign Analyst in the Emerging Market Debt, Aviva Investors telling his story of how accessing further and higher education as a mature student changed his life.

Darrell grew up in a council house and left home and school at the age of 16. He sought financial assistance from income support and stayed in bedsits and hostels whilst working in a number of varied jobs including working in warehouses, meat markets, and fast food outlets. Eventually, Darrell sought a more stable career. He knew he was good with numbers so pursued accountancy, going to college to do an Access course so that he could go on to university. At the age of 24, he went to Nottingham Trent University as a mature student and in his second year, a presentation from a financial analyst sparked an interest in investment management. 

“Whilst it took me a few years to figure out what I wanted to do, once I knew, my focus and determination to work in investment management – an industry that decides where capital flows and has a real impact on the world – was a key driver for me getting a First Class degree. When I was looking for jobs, I came across the Investment20/20 programme which offered great entry level opportunities into investment management for enthusiastic talented people who come from diverse backgrounds and life experiences. I secured a role with Aviva Investors where I started my career in compliance, coding investment guidelines onto the trading system and ensuring portfolio managers were in sync with what was agreed with the client. Four years later, I am still with Aviva progressing my career and now working as a Junior Sovereign Analyst in the Emerging Market Debt team. 

“In this time my life has totally changed. I have bought my own home, I have become a father and I am motivated and passionate to work in an industry that makes a real economic contribution to our society.”

Want to join in the conversation on Social Mobility Awareness day?  Visit Making the Leap’s resources and share your own activities on social media using the hashtag #SocialMobilityDay

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