Bright Purple Becoming Green

(Craig Lamb – Apprentice, Bright Futures Programme)

Recently I have come up with a project idea to make Bright Purple a more eco-friendly company. There is a green policy in place, but what I want to do is to enhance our green policy. This is a project I am very excited and passionate about starting.

My goal is to make sure we have the best Green policy out of all the recruitment agencies in Edinburgh, so we are their first choice for years to come.

On Wednesday the 21st March, Chris Murphy and I went to a Zero Waste Scotland Workshop; the type of people at this workshop varied from CEO’s of companies to people from local businesses. This workshop gave me an insight of how I could go about implementing small changes into Bright Purple. I learned so much in the short time I was at the workshop. I learned how to improve the environment through behaviour changes in an office. There was one technique to implement behaviour change in an office that stood out for me.

The technique is called “The 3Es behaviour change strategic approach”.

  • Enable Staff – helping them to undertake specific actions.
  • Engaging the staff in the programme.
  • Encouraging staff to act.

My plans to make Bright Purple a more eco-friendly company might be small, but it will certainly make the company more Green. There are two areas that I want to start. These areas are the Recycling policy and saving energy.

There is a recycling policy in place, but I feel I could improve this by adding more recycling bins, and from doing this, the company will benefit.

There are many ways of saving Energy such as encouraging staff to switch off computers at night and weekends, through doing energy consumption can be reduced by 75% a year.

My goals for now may be small, but I know they will be effective in the long run. I feel I owe something to Bright Purple as they gave me my first opportunity in the business world. By taking this project on, I feel I will be repaying Bright Purple.

If you can’t stand the heat – stay out of the kitchen!

(Thomas Wilson – Apprentice, Bright Futures Programme)

Next week is going to be the most exciting, yet scariest week of my short career so far. The deadline day for my presentation on IT Demystified is only 1 week away and to say I am feeling the heat is an understatement! But I know I can handle the pressure that this task is heaping on me and I’m sure I’m ready to show what I can do.

Kevin Watters is our systems specialist and he is the man who is in charge of me is putting me through my paces, he’s a tough task master! I am definitely improving my knowledge of the course as I develop it and my presentation skills are getting better and better every day. The more I practice, the better I get.

I personally think it is a very good presentation and it is night and day, compared to the old IT Demystified course that we were using, but I haven’t perfected presenting the course yet. I am working so hard to make sure I get the content and presentation right and I have even sent the presentation home, so I can practice in my spare time. There’s a new experience for me as well, just taking time and thinking about how to use my spare time at home to better myself, another change in my character that I am pleased with.

At work I am finding that all my spare time is taken up in a meeting room on my own and presenting the course over and over to make sure the information sticks in my head. I am now gaining a flow to my presentation skills and when I feel confident enough that I have perfected a section I present it to Kevin and receive feedback on it.

Deadline day presenting the course direct to our CEO, Nick Price, is the 30th of March so I have a week to get it right. No matter what happens I know I can be proud of how hard I have worked. Nick told me from the start when he gave me the project, make sure it’s Bright Purple and dynamic – fingers crossed!

Along with the IT Demystified training course, I also have another presentation to do for the Apprentice Open Day on the evening of the 29th March.

I and the other apprentices are celebrating our 3 months at Bright Purple by inviting some very important business people to the Academy to listen to our adventures so far. Bright Purple employees, as well as our friends and family are also attending; in fact we know that the current audience is going to be around 70 people! Unfortunately my family can’t make it, so I have two of my best friends coming in to watch me and if I get it wrong on the night, I guess am in for a slating from them!

Even though it is mostly about the apprentices, we are not the only people presenting. Our mentors have to present to the audience and I know for a fact they are nervous! Joking aside Stuart will be fine, as I know I will be also when presenting both my presentations.

BRING IT ON!!!

No Hope, No Future…..WHY?

(Craig Lamb – Apprentice, Bright Futures Programme)

I have been in Bright Purple now for over 3 months and my capacity for reading has quadrupled. I am now reading Newspapers on a daily basis, and there seems to be one story that keeps popping up in the media; “Youth unemployment”. It really annoys me to see the lack of input from employers and the Government in tackling this problem.

This morning I came across an article in the Metro titled “260,000 youngsters have not worked for over a year”. According to the article the number of young people out of work or education for more than 12 months has doubled over the last four years. There are a number of government funded programmes available, but one common theme is reoccurring, the system is failing.

“The Bleak outlook came amid claims that a million youngsters are struggling to find work because a £15billion employment drive is littered with red tape”

The main issue with the government programmes is due to the processes and red tape around allocation of funds and the wrong companies getting pay outs by the government. These programmes are actually making the problem worse as they don’t help or target the hardest to reach youngsters, which in turn mean tax payer’s money is getting wasted.

I understand that there is always going to be unemployment, especially in a recession like the one we are in at present, but there is no reason why the number of young people out of education has doubled over the last four years.

As a nation we should feel ashamed, it is no wonder the youth employment is so bad as I feel it all links straight back to education.  If young people aren’t achieving the correct grades and leave school before they should, of course no one is going to employ them.

To resolve this, I think schools need to start cutting down on exclusion, no one is gaining anything from young people leaving or being forced to leave school through lack of education, the only thing we are gaining is more devastating and mind blowing figures about how many kids are out of education and have no job!

“One in four jobless young people are classed as long-term unemployed and more likely to be living on benefits in later life.”

Reading this stunned me because until you see the facts and figures you can’t imagine these young people who are living on benefits now will most likely never get off them.

I am fortunate enough to be on a great programme within Bright Purple. We have been given many great opportunities to grow and learn how a business works. I feel if programmes like the Bright Purple Futures Programme are working, why are the government not taking notice and investing in the proper areas!

If other companies were to take a leaf out Bright Purples book, maybe youth unemployment wouldn’t be as bad as it is in the UK.

“The Government said its new Youth Contract will provide ‘nearly 500,000 new opportunities for young people”

I really don’t see this happening any time soon!

Confidence is Key!!

(Becki Munro– Apprentice, Bright Futures Programme)

On the 16th of March, I and my fellow apprentices were given another amazing opportunity to meet with yet another inspirational person, Hera Hussain.

As always, before meeting with someone, we always take the time to research the person and try and find out a bit about their background, so when they come in to meet with us we have a common ground to speak about and understand what they are doing in their own lives.

I found out very quickly into my research that Hera was famous in her own right, for her social media passion. I thought that this was her full time job, but the more I researched the more I learnt this was not the case. I found out that in actual fact she is a student in her 4th year at Glasgow University studying Psychology and Economics. Amazing, because she has achieved so much and she hasn’t actually left university yet?

Hera went into detail and told us more about her life. She was born in Glasgow to a wealthy family and that she grew up in Pakistan. It was interesting to find out about her upbringing and in comparison, it was very different to my own. Hera went to a private school; I went to a state school, she has one sibling, I have seven, so in that respect we are very different yet we connected. Being very vocal we definitely had something in common.

Through-out the session with Hera, she reinforced useful tips to us and even played a couple of interactive games with us. All of her tips for personal development were amazing, but there were two in particular that stuck with me; ‘whenever in doubt – Google it!’ I found this useful because I can relate to that, as I’m forever on Google looking up everything and anything. The second was an exercise where Hera told us to write down one of our dreams that we wished to fulfill in our life, and on the back of our note we were to write down the parameter’s that would mean our goal was met. Hera believed that if we kept our goal to ourselves there is more chance of achieving it. However, personally I would share my dream with people, as I value their support and encouragement which would spur me on to be as successful as I would like to one day be.

Overall the apprentices really enjoyed the session and again we have all taken a lot away from it. Here are some of the other apprentice’s thoughts and feelings on the session (in their own words)…

Thomas Wilson

  • “I liked how she put me on the spot with the acting part of the presentation, I never expected it and it was good to be put under the sort of pressure and made me think. I enjoyed it because sometimes in life you just don’t expect things to happen and that came out of nowhere.”

Deonne Budge

  • “The one thing that inspired me the most would have to be the fact she is young herself and it was easy to relate to her. Even though she was brought up in a different culture from myself and she continued in education, she still showed that you can do anything you put your mind to. No matter how big the dream may be.”

Sarah Dougal

  • “The session which we spent with Hera was like a breath of fresh air. She is filled with so much enthusiasm and passion, it is infectious. Although Hera is an extremely driven and successful business woman, she was down to earth and shared information about her background and many different tips and advice which I have definitely taken on board. After our session with Hera I left with a strong feeling that everything I want to achieve, I will.”

Craig Lamb

  • “I could of listened to Hera speak all day, when she stood up to speak, a wave of energy swept through the room.”

Lewis O’Connor

  • “Listening to Hera was incredible, she believes you should never judge someone, but instead always have empathy, which I think is something everyone should think about. To hear one of her goals was to help at least 500 women throughout her life to better their own circumstances, was so unbelievably thoughtful and shows just how passionate and truly inspirational Hera Hussain is.”

It’s time to make a difference

(Sarah Dougal – Apprentice, Bright Futures Programme)

On the 7th of March my fellow apprentices and I presented separately to three Bright Purple People; Marielle Tweedie, Neil Lafferty and Derek Gibb. We had to sell ourselves and describe why we were Bright Purple! The winners gained places at different employment conventions and I was lucky enough to impress and gain a place at the National Convention on Youth Employment.

The convention took place on the 15th March at Dundee College and it has filled me with a lot of brand new knowledge and understanding of the topic ‘Youth Employment’.

I am enormously thankful that I was given this opportunity as it is a topic I feel incredibly strongly about considering 102,000 16 to 24 year-olds in Scotland were unemployed from October to December 2011.

This is a horrifying figure considering how hard these youngsters try to get a job but are stopped before they even get started, as they don’t have enough ‘experience’. My question was “How is the youth of today supposed to get experience if employers don’t give them the chance to gain it?”

Throughout the day we were presented with speeches from many powerful people such as; Michael Moore and Ian Duncan Smith (MP’s), John Swinney and Angela Constance (MSP’s) and Charlie Mayfield (Chairman of John Lewis).

Each of them presented us with facts and figures and ways in which they are trying to resolve and improve the current trend. Michael Moore went on to explain that himself and Ian Duncan Smith have been working together to lower youth unemployment, as he feels that by working together we can gain more. He also went on to tell us that there is a money incentive for employers to take on youths for work placements and money off railway travel for youngsters as well.

Ian Duncan Smith, sympathetically, went on to acknowledge that the unemployment rate is down at its lowest on record since 1992, however he explained to us that most of the youth which are included in these rates are in full education, which perhaps takes the edge off of the shocking first impression. He also went on to describe work experience schemes that take on people on jobseekers allowance. 34,000 people have taken part, with 50% coming off benefits after just 13 weeks, which I feel is fantastic and hope it continues!

Angela Constance, MSP and Minister for Youth Unemployment, came across as understanding when explaining that young people are hit the hardest when the economy is weak, but feels it is important that young Scots get the best start to life which I fully agree with, as unemployment can scar and knock the confidence out of a teenager. Angela not only has a programme kick started which provides opportunities for all, she is also committed to helping disadvantaged young Scots.

In the second part of the day we were greeted by people such as Helena Craw, Pamela Smith and Danny Logue who presented to us from the local and delivery perspective. We also had a presentation from Christina Potter who is the Principle of Dundee College and went on to explain how the college help boosts the youngsters CV’s by providing them with experience, certificates and many different things which she feels gives them ‘the edge’. Christina’s speech came across extremely promising and hopefully which show results soon.

My day at Dundee College was extremely beneficial and faced with the facts gave me the drive to want to make a difference. Each of the speakers described positive and fantastic ways to help improve the current trend of youth unemployment. Therefore, they can most definitely talk the talk, but here’s my question “can they actually walk the walk?”

As with many of the Government initiatives there are lots of statistics thrown at us, there are lots of promises of change for the better and then lots of old people telling youngsters, don’t worry we are fixing it for you. So here’s something for you to consider:

Dear Government, do you want a future workforce that believes in your policies and also believes that you do have their best interests at heart, do you want them to be engaged? If the answer is yes, stop talking, take action and fix it. I think we are all fed up listening to you tell us it’ll be fine – what about those young people who can’t get a start in life, how long should they listen and wait for that change that we keep hearing is going to happen?

The proof will be in the years to come as youth unemployment figures will hopefully not be at such a horrific high rate. I have been given my chance to get on the ladder to start a successful career, Bright Purple are doing something about it and not just talking shop – so if every UK SME did something, however small, it would go a long way to starting to tackle the disheartening problem our youth of today face.

The Nicest Kids in Town

(Becki Munro and Deonne Budge – Apprentices, Bright Futures Programme)

Deonne and I were given an amazing opportunity to go and watch our CEO’s daughters dance at their school, Mary Erskine School in Edinburgh and to give some ‘Bright Purple’ vocal support. The show is called Kaleidoscope.

We left work earlier than usual to get a bus to meet with Nick’s wife, Margita who was very welcoming.  We were invited into their home for a quick bite to eat with some of their daughters friends (and boy friend) – a tasty KFC.  It was very surreal, as not many people in our company can say they have been in their CEO’s house for tea.

As we were waiting in the queue for about half an hour, the excitement and the anticipation was bubbling up inside us. We simply couldn’t wait to get inside where we would be watching from front row seats.

The show finally started!!

The curtains opened and a short video was played briefing us all of the reason why the girls and boys were dancing. The reason for the show was because the school has close ties with Malawi, in the heart of Africa. All money raised from the night was being donated and would be going towards helping build a school for girls and a night-time education school for young ladies, who would like to go on further in their studies.

The donations would also be going towards a hostel for the woman, as some girls are walking upto 15km along busy roads in order to get to school. A bridge was built in order for people to get to school, because in their tropical season it is impossible to get to school, as the sewage water overflows making it dangerous.

The opening dance was fantastically put together by Miss Cooper, who in our opinion did a brilliant job as it was memorable and got our attention, keeping us wanting more. After the first few dances, speakers Kirsty and Katherine, indroduced the acts and gave the audience background on the reasoning behind the show. They were clear and vocal and engaging with the audience.

The dancers were all extremly talented and I felt like it was over before it even started.  You could definiatley see from every dance, how much hard work and passion went into the evening.  One act that stood out for us was the ballet. The dancers were so elegant and made it look so effortless as they danced in synchronisation throughout the routine.

By the end of the show, we were completely mesmorised by what we had just seen. It made us want to be able to dance the way they did and we were jealous of how extrordinarily talented the girls were. The night was a sell-out and we wanted it to go on, but all good things must come to an end and it did.

By watching the girls perform with such determination and dedication, spurring each other on to do well, Deonne and I are as keen as ever to do exceptionally well at Bright Purple and show them that we are meant to be here and to be Bright Purple People!!

Each and every single parent of the girls who performed that night should be very proud of them and futhermore, the girls all performed beautifully and should be very pleased with the final product. The night was one that we won’t forget…

Back in the Driving Seat

(Lewis O’Connor – Apprentice, Bright Futures Programme)

From the very beginning of the Bright Futures apprenticeship, my enthusiasm and confidence has been nurtured by the Bright Purple team in order to allow me to go on and be successful, whether that is in specific tasks or projects. Throughout my time at Bright Purple I have followed a well-structured and detailed timetable which has included various sessions. This has provided me and my fellow apprentices with a platform to gain a greater understanding of the business world and gave us access to tools which allowed us to build on our own Personal Development.

Now going into our tenth week and for each of these, the timetable has been packed full of exciting projects and certain activities, preparing all 6 apprentices for the business world. Most have been tailored to either Recruitment or Personal Development, which has been hugely beneficial, allowing us to grow as young business people and adapt to the professional working environment.

More recently after an especially hectic two weeks the other Apprentices and I have been set a new and exciting challenge. This challenge was a chance to prove ourselves as well organised, productive individuals. This week the often bursting timetable has been stripped, with very few team projects pencilled in. This has opened up the weekly schedule and allowed for the Apprentices to manage their own time this week. Along with this new found freedom and flexibility comes great responsibility.

It is the job of all the apprentices to create and think of new ideas which will benefit the Bright Purple team. To document everything we have achieved and took part in during the week. This will provide a clear piece of evidence as to where our time management skills are at.

The responsibility that has come with this task has encouraged further communication between not only all 6 apprentices but our communication amongst the wider Bright Purple team. We, the apprentices are both individually yet collectively in charge of what we get out of this week. This task has put me in a place in which I feel very comfortable. It has put me firmly in the driving seat, giving me the opportunity to go out there and grab the initiative. Taking on more projects and speaking to as many different people within the team trying to sponge as much information as I can.  Ultimately my experiences throughout this week should set me up perfectly for my development at Bright Purple and hopefully I will open doors of opportunity for myself.