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Inspirational words from Reggie Yates

19 June 2019

By Kyle Tagg, Exeter College There are certain people who omit an air of positivity from the very moment you meet them. They speak willingly and openly about anything you want to direct their way, and the underlying message from what they say is truly inspiring. Reggie Yates is one such character. The 33-year-old broadcaster from Islington has already built up a showbiz career spanning 25 years. As a proud millennial, my most vivid memories of him come from sitting in my parents’ car listening to the Radio 1 Chart Show on Sunday afternoons. More recently, he and his team have been scooping awards for their ‘Extreme’ series of documentaries, and there are plans for further exciting projects in the New Year. As a 2016 Gold Award winner and former-FE student, he is passionate about the dreams of young people. I sat down with him to discuss this, and how the younger generation might be inspired to follow in his footsteps. “It can be really easy to get caught up in that narrative of ‘council estate boy did good’,” he says. “I do understand that I beat the odds in terms of the people I grew up with and how much different my life is now compared to theirs.” Reggie grew up in north London and attended City & Islington College. He had to be allowed time off to take part in filming for television roles, which started aged just eight. “My advice isn’t just for people who have come from a similar background to me. I want to be giving advice to all young people, period. “It doesn’t matter if you have a mum and dad, just a mum, just a dad or neither. Whatever your situation is, whatever class you put yourself in, whatever colour you are, I think it is very simple to achieve success.” As well as providing more inspiration through broadcast, Reggie is also keen to set up a nationwide mentoring programme to give further support to aspiring students. When it comes to reaching ambitions, he believes there are two key attributes that youngsters should possess. “Not only do you have to follow the thing that you are passionate about, but you also need to have a relentless drive to succeed. You can only have that drive if you are 100% committed to what you do. “If you want to build motorbikes for a living then you need to fall asleep dreaming of the perfect frame.” Wise words indeed, made even more evocative coming from an ever-present of my childhood. Kyle Tagg is an Exeter College student taking part in work experience at AoC's Annual Conference.