EMPOWERING YOUNG PEOPLE TO REACH THEIR FULL POTENTIAL | KELY

John Joseph

John Joseph

Architecture Student, KELY Alumnus

"Believe in yourself and don't doubt yourself, and always seek perseverance, and don't lose track of your vision and stay put and don't let fear overcome the things you wanna do in life."


When I was 16, I saw some posters advertising KELY's Open Door Work Placement Programme. Most of my friends weren't really interested in signing up, because the placements would only pay minimum wage, but one of my teachers encouraged me to apply. He told me not to worry about the money, just focus on my passion.

I wasn't totally sure about my passion, but I knew that I enjoyed drawing. It started from drawing in colouring books when I was a kid and grew from there. I decided to sign up for the programme. Every Saturday, we would meet to work on our CVs and learn interview skills. Even though I was still in school, the programme was a way to get an early start on "real life". At the end of the programme, I was able to get an internship placement with an architecture firm, where I got to see what it was like to work in architecture and meet incredible mentors and role models.

Before that, I didn't really know what I wanted to do, but the work placement helped me visualise my future, and was a turning point for me. My DSE grades weren't that great, but I didn't stop there. That experience showed me that I could one day work at an architecture firm and it motivated me to work hard, to do what I needed to do to find a path to becoming an architect.

I spent a year completing foundation studies in design at the VTC, then another two years completing a higher diploma in architectural studies at HKU SPACE. During these past few years, I've also spent every winter and summer holiday working at the same architecture firm. Last year,I participated in the BoConcept Home Design Award and won first place - beating out others who had way more experience than me. It was a dream come true.

My experience with KELY has also opened my eyes to other possibilities. A few years ago, I joined a KELY programme where we got to watch and play with the Hong Kong rugby team. Watching the games made me want to try it out for myself as well. I started training regularly and later ended up playing for the national rugby team in the Philippines! Going on tour was one of the most physically and mentally tough experiences I've ever gone through, but it helped me to see that anything is possible. I think it's because of these experiences that I am a big believer in vision boards.

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