A night to remember

On Wednesday 21st November we attended Scotland’s Apprentice Awards 2012 which held at the Glasgow Science Centre.

The evening started with a drinks reception in the main lobby, you could feel the excitement in the air and everyone was dressed in their best finery. After a few sparkling wines we were ushered into the large IMAX auditorium where the award presentations were to take place.  We took our seats and the evening was kicked off by Sally Magnusson our compere for the evening, Sally then introduced Angela Constance – Minister for Youth Employment as our keynote speaker.  I have heard Ms Constance speak on many occasions but tonight seemed extra special as it was an event celebrating those who have put all the hard work in to making these apprenticeships work.  The first category was Small Employer, the one we were up for.  Sally read out the finalist names and a bit about each company, she then announced the winner, and it was us!!!  Our two Apprentices Sarah and Craig took to the stage to collect the award amidst a roar of applause.  Photo by Kieran Chambers Photography

We are absolutely delighted to win this award and is great recognition for the hard work that has been put into our Bright Futures Programme from everyone involved the apprentices, mentors, staff, trainers, inspirational speakers and many more, thank you everyone.  We would also like to thank all the Apprentices involved with the Bright Futures Programme, including those that have moved on from Bright Purple; Deonne Budge, Becki  Munro, Thomas Wilson and Lewis O’Connor.

Congratulations to all the winners there were some great and inspirational stories!

Photo by Kieran Chambers Photography

Comments from Craig Lamb – Apprentice – Bright Futures Programme

When I got asked to attend Scotland’s Modern Apprenticeship Awards I was honoured, the whole experience was like nothing I have ever done before. Sally Magnusson kicked off the event and explained to all the finalists what would happen throughout the evening. Bright Purple was in the category for the small employer’s award along with two other companies. When Sally Magnusson said “And the winner of Small Employers category is……BRIGHT PURPLE” there was a roar of joy from all five Bright Purple staff attending the event. Sarah and myself had to make the long walk to the stage were we had to collect the award, when we reached the stage we were handed the award and given a round of applause from the audience. It was a great evening a very successful one for Bright Purple.

Comments from Sarah Dougal – Apprentice – Bright Futures Programme

This time last year I was in 6th year at High school, unhappy and under confident with so many plans to kick start my career but no idea how to get there. I find it completely mind-blowing that myself and Craig attended the Apprenticeship Awards at the Glasgow Science Centre. Not only were we given the opportunity to attend this inspiring event we also picked up an award for the best Small Employer which myself and Craig went up to the stage to collect.

When Bright Purple was announced as the winner I was overcome by emotions. It was a reality check of how far all the apprentices and I have come and how dramatic and life changing the experiences we have been given have been. When I actually sat back and thought about everything we have achieved, being presented with the award last night made it all so worthwhile and highlighted how far we have come. I felt like all our hard work and determination had paid off and was recognised by so many people.

It was an amazing experience and one I know for certain I won’t forget. It was my first chance to attend Business Awards and I don’t want it to be the last. It just goes to show how much we have all changed and improved within less than a year. We knew what we wanted and, we got it.

Intern Insight – Bright Purple Lithuania

Hi everyone! My name is Skaiste and I’m studying at Vilnius Lyceum. Many people say that it is the best school in Lithuania and actually it is! I am participating in the internship project organized by “School of Success”.

When I found out that I had been accepted for project I was extremely happy. I wanted to experience what real work means, to develop my skills and gain an understanding of a profession that maybe something I want to do when I leave school. But as the big day approached I felt a little bit scared. I had checked Bright Purple’s website to learn more about the company and the first impression was very good. I liked the ideas and the values of the company and was looking forward to finding out more, so I was waiting for my first day impatiently. As I said, I was excited and a little bit scared at the same time but on my arrival I was greeted by four friendly ladies: Egle, Lina, Jurga and Jurate who instantly put me at ease.

The first few days were full of emotion, meeting new people and being in working environment all very new to me. I met via video conference with Diana (HR), Amanda (Marketing & Social Media), Sarah (Apprentice), Megan (Office Administrator) and Nick (CEO) all based from the Edinburgh head office. They were amazing! My English is not perfect but they created a really comfortable and friendly environment, so I just forgot all my worries. I learned a lot of new things, like presentation skills, CPD. Also I learned more about social media, marketing, diversity in the workplace. These will all be very useful in for my future.

On Wednesday I visited a client with Egle, Jurate and Jurga. It was a very interesting experience to get an insight into how to conduct yourself in front of clients in a professional manner.  This is something I will definitely find useful in the future; I can also use this experience when I attend interviews.

To sum up, these few days gave me a lot of food for thought. I am really glad to be here. Thank you guys, you are awesome!

First Lithuanian Intern arrives at Bright Purple

Sėkmės Mokykla, http://www.schoolofsuccess.org/en the School of Success is an NGO based in Vilnius in Lithuania that specializes in non-formal education and aims to contribute in bringing up a society of successful, active and responsible youth in Lithuania.

- Simona laiconaite, School of Success Simona Laiconaitė, one of the team at School of Success explains that School of Success has been organizing educational events/trainings for senior students since 2007, regarding topics of social competences and personal development.

What inspires us? Our volunteers do not lack energy or in fact creativity and the teenagers that get involved do so with a passion to participate in every project, seminar, conference and training session.

In May 2012 School of Success organised a pilot project of student‘s (10-graders) to take part in an internship with local or international companies based in Lithuania. The idea for introducing work experience week to Lithuania came from Ben Harvey. Ben is originally from the UK where he worked in a senior position for Price Waterhouse and Ben has now been living in Lithuania for the past 15 years running his own business called Growing Talent, acting as a leadership coach to a variety of businesses.

The core element of the project is to provide ‘real-life’ work experience for a tenth-grader in a company, cultural organisation, NGO or governmental institution and according to the sphere of the interns interest‘s. The project is aimed to introduce students to the actual concept of work through the range of organizations from different operational sectors and to inspire and motivate them think about their future career’s while still being in the safety of the school environment.

The original pilot was a great success, because students could see the value of trying out a profession they were interested in and understanding whether their vision coincided with the reality on the day. Teachers were proud to see that their students came back to school much more motivated than they were before and companies claimed to have gotten fresh ideas and viewpoints that they’d never thought of before.

Therefore, School of Success didn’t waste any time in organizing a second batch of students’ ready to take on the challenges of the internship. It’s the School of Successes belief that the project will inspire and help young people to make the right decisions in choosing their future studies and making first career steps, understand what competences they lack to become good professionals able to add value to the companies they join and also how to improve themselves through their experiences.

This time the School of Success is happy to announce that students’ internship project goes international with the help of Bright Purple team in Vilnius and Edinburgh. On Monday 5th November, Egle and the Bright Purple team in Vilnius will welcome Skaiste, she is a 16 year old student at Vilnius Lyceum – http://www.licejus.lt/index.php/english,2 and Skaiste has a full week planned for her, working with both the Lithuanian team, as well as the team at head quarters in Scotland. Quite an experience for this young lady and one that School of Success hopes will inspire her to return to school full of new ideas and thinking.

For Bright Purple it’s a return to welcoming young people in to the company following the success of the Bright Futures Programme – https://brightfuturesprogramme.wordpress.com/ and you will be able to follow Skaiste’s week on the blog pages. Skaiste will also spend some time learning from one of Bright Purple’s hugely successful young apprentices, Sarah Dougal and we are certain the two girls will have a lot in common and work well together.

We hope this is the start of a long and fruitful relationship between the School of Success and Bright Purple for years to come.

Spot Light on Scotland’s Youth Employment

(Craig Lamb – Trainee Resourcer at Bright Purple Resourcing Ltd)

On the 6th of September, Amanda Jeffery, Bright Purple’s Marketing and Communications Manager and I attended a major Youth Employment conference held in the Our Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh – http://youthemployment2012.holyrood.com/home

The conference brought together some of the big names of Scottish government and education, as well as young people to debate and workshop thinking around youth employment. Ms Angela Constance, Minister for Youth Employment for Scottish Government was one of the key speakers and it was only recently that Bright Purple welcomed Ms Constance and our First Minister, Alex Salmond to its HQ to meet the Bright Futures Apprentices, an event which saw our team show youth in a very positive light.

Back to me, well initially I thought I was taking part in a round table discussion with five other people, however, on our way to the event Amanda hit me with the big bomb shell!!! I was actually sitting in the main discussion panel, live on stage, in front of over 100 people who were attending the event.  At first I thought she was joking but I soon realised she was deadly serious and in just one hour’s’ time, I would be on the stage with no prepared speech.

On arrival we signed in and had an hour until show time. I was due on stage at 1:10pm, and as time passed and it got closer to my time, I became more nervous as it was the biggest crowd I have ever spoken in front of and I wasn’t sure what to expect and there was the added pressure of representing our Bright Purple brand correctly.

There were five other members on the panel, all around about the same age as me and, when I made my way to the stage and met the other members on the panel, I realised that they all had a script to read from! I was confident I didn’t need something to read from as I had plenty experience given to me by Bright Purple of speaking in front of small crowds, but I had never experienced speaking in front of a large crowd, so then I started to wish I had actually prepared a script.

We were all asked to discuss some of our experiences, hopes and ambitions for the future. I was 4th to speak, as the other members discussed a bit about themselves and experiences, I realised they weren’t very different from me. As it got closer and closer to my time, my heart started to beat faster and faster.

It was finally my turn.  Nervous but with a quiet confidence I took the stage and immediately captivated the audience with my charm and humour – OK so I am not shy, I’ll admit that. I discussed my dreams and ambitions as a child and then went on to discuss Bright Purple.  I covered how I heard about Bright Purple’s brand, their Bright Futures Programme, my life changing achievements and experiences gained within the first nine months and what I am now aiming to do moving forward and what I intend to achieve.

After the panel introductions we were then asked a series of questions by the audience. I was asked if I would ever be interested in setting up my own business and replied “it’s not something I would be interested in doing now, I want to gain more work experience, and then maybe in the future, it might be something I would consider”.

I was up on stage for just over an hour and it was a fantastic opportunity to hear about other people’s experiences, as well as the chance to make my first live presentation to a large audience.

What can I say, except Bright Purple has gifted me yet another opportunity and experience I would never have had if I hadn’t joined the Bright Futures programme.

Amanda Jeffery comments on the day

‘I have attended quite a few Youth Employment conferences, some with the other apprentices and some which the other apprentices have also had the opportunity to speak at.  What I find from these events is everyone is very interested to here from the ‘youth’, no matter how much research anyone does it’s always best to hear it from the source.  Craig conducted himself very well on the panel, he spoke clearly and professionally, he even managed a few jokes!  I have seen a big change in Craig over the past nine months, at the very start of the programme he wouldn’t have had the confidence to speak in front of over 100 people.  The various projects the apprentices were given has helped build their confidence and given them practice at speaking in front of people; presenting to entrepreneurs and business leaders, preparing and presenting lunch and learn sessions, presenting to their family and friends at their Apprentice Open Evening have all given them new experiences.  Well done Craig you did a great job!’

Have you met a billionaire?

(Sarah Dougal – Trainee Resourcer at Bright Purple Resourcing)

Sir Tom Hunter, 51, married, 3 children and Scotland’s first home grown billionaire.  Someone you could only read about? Not for my fellow apprentices and I.

Throughout my apprenticeship with Bright Purple I am constantly overwhelmed by the amazing opportunities we are given. Each time they seem to top themselves and most certainly increase the ‘wow’ factor. But this time they have most certainly gone up and beyond in providing us with the most amazing opportunity to date. On the 21st August Craig, Lewis, Marielle, Amanda and myself went on a two hour journey to Irvine to meet with Sir Tom Hunter. Let me ask you, what 18 year olds do you know that are given the opportunity to meet a home grown billionaire and one of the most inspirational men in Scotland?

Since starting Bright Purple it has unlocked a side of me which I didn’t know existed. It has made me realise that I can and will succeed and has made me want things I wouldn’t have even dreamed of. One of the main reasons for this has been inclusion of meeting a huge amount of amazing entrepreneurs throughout the Bright Futures programme including Nick Price himself which has planted the seed in my head of becoming an entrepreneur. Therefore, for me meeting Sir Tom, one of Scotland’s most successful entrepreneurs was beyond amazing and a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Before meeting Sir Tom Hunter I was anxious and wasn’t sure what to expect. ‘Would he be happy about taking time out of his busy schedule to talk to apprentices?’ ‘Would he look down on us?’ these were just a few of the thoughts racing through my head. However, all of my pre-thought judgements vanished as soon as we were greeted by Sir Tom with an unexpected warm welcome of refreshments and biscuits! I was utterly taken aback by how down to earth and ‘normal’ he was which he said is greatly down to his wife. He also spoke to us about his background of selling trainers out of the back of a van and his goals which he successfully achieved, quickly turning him into Scotland’s first home grown billionaire.

As time went on he revealed more and more about his personality, showing just how humble he really was. He didn’t brag or even mention his private jet or the yacht he hires every summer. He simply explained how important it is to have a point in life and to work towards something which he admitted for him when he was younger to be able to get material things but now it’s about his family and being able to give something back to charity. He also touched on his children and explained how he didn’t want to spoil them or have them not work towards something. It was at that point that hit me just how genuine he was. He didn’t want to talk about everything his money has got him but instead he spoke of the other inspirational people he has met and the Hunter Foundation which is his main focus for going forward. I couldn’t believe just how down to earth Sir Tom Hunter was and how he used his success to help others.

Towards the end of our time with Sir Tom, when I didn’t think I could be any more blown anyway he took us downstairs where a foundation project called Entrepreneurial Spark he set up and supports was based. It’s where people like myself who strive to be entrepreneurs all come together, to share thoughts and to help each other with their work ideas. They are provided with all the tools they need but most importantly they are provided with support from others and also from other entrepreneurs who act as mentors. I was completely taken aback as I hadn’t heard of anything like it before and as we were given a tour my mind went into overdrive with all of the entrepreneurial ideas which I have. I may not have a set idea yet but I do know one thing, I will most definitely be getting in touch with the project.I came away from meeting Sir Tom Hunter inspired bursting with ideas for the future. I cannot say thank you enough to Nick, for setting this up for us and to Sir Tom for taking time out to speak with us. I know for certain it will not be something I will be forgetting in hurry.

Once in a Life Time Opportunity

(Craig Lamb – Trainee Resourcer at Bright Purple Resourcing)

In my short life, I have had the privilege of doing a lot of things others will never get the chance to do, and meeting Sir Tom Hunter is one of those things. The thought of being in the same room as a billionaire was absolutely mind blowing. Myself and few other Bright Purple colleagues travelled through to Ayrshire to meet the man himself, it was a two hour drive so I had time to rap my head round the idea that in a couple of hours’ time, I would be speaking to one of Scotland’s richest men.

After our long drive, we were then greeted by Sir Tom Hunter, he sat us down and offered us tea and coffee, at first I think it is fair to say me and my Bright Purple colleagues felt a bit intimidated and were lost for words, but after a few minutes the conversation started to flow. We firstly explained a little bit about the Bright Purple Futures Programme, and then we got the chance to ask our questions. Sir Tom told us about his dreams and ambitions as a youngster, and they were no different from mine. Just like me, he wanted the fast car and dream house. He told us about how he made his first fortune and what attributes you would need if you were to be as successful as him.

After we met Sir Tom Hunter, and we made our way back to Edinburgh, it all felt a bit surreal, not many people can say in their life, that they have met a billionaire. The thing that shocked me most about Tom was, that he was just like any other ordinary person, even though he was a billionaire, it didn’t change him as a person.

Sir Tom Hunter – a true inspiration

(Lewis O’Connor – Trainee Resourcer at Bright Purple Resourcing)

Throughout my time at Bright Purple as an apprentice I have been given the chance to meet and also work alongside exceptional people. I have taken a lot from meeting with the likes of Craig Paterson, Jennifer Cheyne and so many other inspirational entrepreneurs. I have since recently completed the programme and have been hard at work within the Corporate Contract Team. I never imagined being given the chance to meet with one of Scotland’s richest men.

Sir Tom Hunter is one of the most successful Scottish entrepreneurs ever. Yesterday myself along with Fellow apprentices Sarah and Craig set of with Marielle (Head of the Apprentice Programme) and Amanda (PR & Marketing) to make the two hour drive to meet with a billionaire. We arrived in style pulling up alongside Sir Tom Hunter’s Range Rover in our Bright Red Ford KA.

I had expectations of what the session with Sir Tom would be like and how I thought a multi-millionaire would interact with Apprentices. My thoughts and opinions were completely scrubbed as within 30 seconds Sir Tom had offered us all a warm welcome a brief background about himself and even a KitKat.

The Meeting with Sir Tom was by far the most interesting and inspirational conversations I have ever had. He spoke of his humble background and how he was able to transform his lifestyle and go on to achieve so much in such a short time. The thing that struck me the most was the fact he did not boast about how much money he had or how many fancy cars he had. Instead he spoke of the Hunter Foundation and the plans he had going forward in wanting to put his money back into helping people around the world.

Sir Tom Hunter spoke to each and every one of us as though we were just as valuable and exciting to meet as the likes of President Bill Clinton, Sir Richard Branson, Sir David Murray and so many other iconic people. I was blown away by his honesty and will to help others.

I came away from the meeting with even greater ambition and belief in both myself and what I can achieve. I am hugely thankful for the opportunity and cannot thank Sir Tom Hunter enough for his time and advice.

Bright Purple has continued to support me throughout my time and have helped me open so many doors. I have experience which rivals any of my friends and family and for that to I am hugely grateful and proud to be a part of the Bright Futures Apprentice Programme.