Ata Rahman, Communications Assistant at Hounslow Highways talks to Enabling Enterprise’s Mike Zatyka about his experience of school and the enterprise skills essential in his role.

Mike Zatyka: What is the best thing you remember from your time at Montpelier Primary?
Ata Rahman: In Year 5, I had a teacher called Mr Barrett who picked up very quickly that I loved reading. He used to give me advanced books to take home and read from his personal library and I fell in love with new literature that inspired me to write. I’ve been lucky to have done a degree and have a job where I write every day and I don’t think if he’d pushed me, I would have ended up where I am! I also miss my pretend lightsaber duels with my friends!

MZ: What was your first experience of the world of work?
AR: My first job after finishing high school was working in a shop in Covent Garden over the Christmas period. I enjoyed it as it was very busy, but my legs had to get used to not being sat down all day! I did used to help at the Montpelier summer fetes when I was in school though, and that was always fun.

MZ: What was your first impression of joining the Enabling Enterprise student visit to Hounslow Highways?
AR: I was so impressed at how innovative they were. One team came up with a bin that compacts itself, meaning our crews wouldn’t have to empty it every day. It was brilliant!

MZ: What stood out about the students and the activity they were involved in?
AR: Other than their enthusiasm for the task, I loved how excited they were to present their ideas and how they boosted each other throughout preparing for and delivering their presentations.

MZ: Enabling Enterprise works with schools across England to help students develop skills in eight key areas: Being Creative, Problem Solving, Aiming High, Staying Positive, Listening & Understanding, Presenting, Working in a Team and Leading. Which of these do you use most in your current role? Why is it important?
AR: Leading is a key part of my role as I manage a team that deals with targets that must be met every day. It’s important because to ensure the team performs at the required level, everyone must have sufficient training and understanding of the tasks they complete. I really enjoy this as it’s a great feeling when someone you’ve taught and trained flourishes.

MZ: Thinking about those skills, what advice would you give to students at your old school, or any school, about those skills and their importance to them in the future?
AR: I would tell them that problem solving is an incredibly valuable skill as you go through school and afterwards. Not only will you use it in the classroom every day, but it will help you prepare for exams, decide what you want to study and what and where you want to work. Every time your teacher says you have to problem solve, make sure you are listening!

MZ: What difference do you think Enabling Enterprise would have made to you during your time at school?
AR: We went on some trips to companies when I was in primary school, but we never got to work on projects with the staff. I think seeing how businesses work and working with their staff members would have provided a useful insight into different jobs out there.

MZ: Hounslow Highways hosts regular visits for students taking part in Enabling Enterprise’s programmes. What advice would you give other colleagues about getting involved in an Enabling Enterprise student visit?
AR: Even if you have preconceptions about doing the day, give it a try. I’ve never met anyone who hasn’t enjoyed participating in one of these programmes and it’s amazing to see bright young minds working together.

MZ: Anything else?
AR: I wish Enabling Enterprise the best of luck as they continue to grow across the UK and we will continue to offer our support to engage with West London schools as much as we can!

Enabling Enterprise was founded by teachers in 2009, and now works with over 75,000 students nationally. A not-for-profit social enterprise, our vision is to ensure that, one day, every student will leave school with the skills, experiences and aspirations to succeed.

Hounslow Highways regularly hosts Enabling Enterprise student visits and we look forward to working together in 2017 and beyond..

To get in get in touch about our school programmes call 020 7183 6292 or email

To find out how to get involved as an employer or a volunteer contact Simon Hill on

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