Former refugee rocket science graduate stands with a sign looking for work outside Canary Wharf station... and the interview offers roll in

Sophie Williams
Mr Elbarkey came to the UK with his family as a refugee from Libya: Mary Engleheart

A former refugee who stood outside Canary Wharf station with a sign pleading for work says he is "overwhelmed" after a tweet showing him standing with his sign went viral.

22-year-old Mohamed Elbarkey says his self-promotional stunt has earned him some promising job leads, including interviews at places he would "love to work at."

Mr Elbarkey came to the UK with his family as a refugee from Libya and graduated with a 2:1 in Aerospace Engineering from Southampton University. He is currently completing his masters in Space Engineering from UCL and is hoping to move into the finance industry.

He says he sent out over 70 applications but hadn’t been offered any interviews.

On Wednesday morning he stood in Canary Wharf with a sign which read: "Came as a refugee, just graduated from UCL in ROCKET SCIENCE. Looking for a career in Finance. Ask for CV."

He was spotted by Mary Engleheart who took his picture and posted it to Twitter asking her followers to help get Mohamed a job.

The 22-year-old stood outside Canary Wharf station (Getty Images)

It has since had 24,000 likes and 16,000 retweets.

Mr Elbarkey got the idea from David Casarez, who did a similar stunt in Silicon Valley.

The recent UCL graduate told the Standard: "I found this young man, David, he did the same stunt in Silicon Valley. He wanted a job in technology and what better place. I found that he had ove 200 job offers and I thought I only need one.

"Why don't I try and see if my story resonates with these executives at these large financial firms and see if they wanted to take me under their wing, even offer me an internship and a job or genuinely just some advice."

People approached Mr Elbarkey and spoke to him. One valuable piece of advice came from an executive at a financial firm.

"One executive told me what you need is a stronger handshake. When someone powerful like that tells you that, you think 'I need to make sure my handshake is amazing,' Mr Elbarkey said.

Mr Elbarkey explained that having a degree in a different field to his chosen profession meant that he had additional skills to add to the industry.

“There are lots of connections between the two. I found that I was really interested in the markets and how world events can really have a big impact on financial markets.

"There's a big surge on using technology to predict market movements so because of my coding experience, I thought I would really like applying myself in this way and see if I can be part of a team that can develop software that can predict market movements.”

The recent graduate said the news came as a bit of a shock to his family as he decided not to tell them about his plans to stand at Canary Wharf with the sign.

"I didn't tell anyone. I didn't want to bring attention to the fact I did this until anything concrete happened. I'd look like a fool if I told people I was doing this and didn't come back with a single business card.

"So they found out through social media and they told me I was trending. Because of the overwhelmingly positive response, they are really supportive of it and they hope something productive can come from it."

He has three interviews planned for next week and said he has been approached by organisations for his CV.

"A lot of people who work for larger organisations have contacted me for my CV to see if my skills match what they are looking for and to see if they could place me." Mr Elbarkey said.