‘We beat 28,000 to win the careers experience of a lifetime’

Spider’s eye view: Aerial view of Los Angeles from behind the iconic Hollywood sign. Picture credit: Daniil Vnoutchkov on Unsplash

“Welcome to Hollywood! What’s your dream? Everybody comes here; this is Hollywood, land of dreams. Some dreams come true, some don’t; but keep on dreamin’ – this is Hollywood.”

The closing lines of the film Pretty Woman sum up the lure of the motion picture capital of the world.

Now two young people with big ambitions are heading to Los Angeles for the careers experience of the a lifetime with the Oscar-winning team behind Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse.

Ahmed Hassan, a 26 year-old entrepreneur from Egypt, and Mariana Leite, a 22 year-old computer science student from Portugal, beat 28,192 young people from around the world.

As part of the application process hosted on Vodafone’s Future Jobs Finder, Ahmed and Mariana were asked to share their career superpower.

Once shortlisted, they had to create a video explaining why they should win. Their creativity and originality stood out – as well as their bold belief that making mistakes and failing is crucial to success.

“My career superpower is being able to fail,” says Mariana, who is interested in a career as a software developer.

“Many people avoid failure at all costs, afraid of being judged. However, by doing so, many miss opportunities to push themselves to new limits.”

Mariana’s clever concept of ‘twinning herself’ and Ahmed’s creative approach impressed judges

Ahmed, an aspiring movie director, feels the same.

“I see myself as a masterpiece of collective failures creating one beautiful success,” he says.

“I love to get new ideas […], perfectionism helps me to learn more and get things right.”

Over the course of their trip, the pair will learn from the animation team behind the latest Spider-Man movie at Sony Pictures, sitting in four different master classes covering the process of making a movie.

They will meet story artists, visual development artists, animation supervisors and computer graphics supervisors, who will spend an hour each explaining their work, before being taken on a tour of the campus. After this they have four days after to enjoy LA.

Later, they’ll come to London for creative skills workshops at Vodafone Group’s global headquarters with the team who worked on the Spider-man collaboration, designed to help close the digital skills gap. They’ll then have three days to explore the city.

Sony Pictures in LA. Picture credit: Wikicommons

Vodafone’s Future Jobs Finder is a free online tool that has so far supported more than 480,000 young people.

The gamified platform works by asking a series of questions, developed with psychologists, careers experts and training providers. It matches users’ interests and skills to 150 different digital job types – then displays relevant available jobs and training opportunities nearby. It also helps users create a digital CV.

After taking the Future Jobs Finder test, Ahmed’s skills matched up with a career as a digital product designer, a software tester, a user experience designer or a user interface designer. Mariana’s skill set directed her to digital artworker or art director, a knowledge engineer, IT trainer or animator.

“The assessment was one of the best tools I have ever encountered,” says Ahmed. “The results were so accurate and relevant. It was shocking.”.

Mariana also found it accurate.

“I didn’t expect them to be so relatable with my preferences given that I only had to answer a few questions,” she says. “There were some recommendations that I never considered due to not knowing enough about them. I wish this tool existed when I was in high school and undecided about which college course I should pick.”

Through the tool and a global initiative called ‘What Will You Be?’, Vodafone has committed to support 10 million young people to access digital skills, learning and employment opportunities by 2022.

Vodafone and Sony Pictures teamed up to meet this target in October 2018, using the new Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse movie to introduce young people to the Future Jobs Finder.

A digital campaign drew on the movie’s central theme: that anyone can achieve their full potential with the right skills and support.


Ahmed and Mariana’s guide to creating a standout video job application

1. Keep the criteria of the role in mind, as your video application will be judged against it

2. Try to communicate unique and relevant information about yourself

3. Write and re-write a script for your video, keeping your audience firmly in mind

4. Make sure you cover the key elements in an entertaining way

5. Experiment with ideas and scenarios and imagine yourself as a viewer

6. Show your script and initial footage to friends and family for feedback and constructive criticism

7. Keep in mind time restrictions

8. Be sure to pick a good filming location that makes sense with your video style and allows you to record without interference

9. Be creative and persuasive

10. Use bold graphics, imaginative visuals and/or sound effects and royalty-free music to strengthen your video

11. Make it memorable  

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