From raw talent to young professionals

(Stuart Whiting – Mentor, Bright Purple)

It’s hard to believe that over 6 months have passed since we sat in the academy with 12 youngsters deciding who would become the Bright Purple Apprentices. Thinking back now we couldn’t have chosen any better the 6 we decided on have been a pleasure and an inspiration to have in the office.

In the beginning the apprentices were very much “raw” talent they had fantastic personal qualities and work ethic but at times you could tell they were new to a professional environment. Initially many lacked self confidence and initiative but they all quickly realised the opportunity they had and quickly rose to the challenge. The apprentices are all from different backgrounds and have very different personalities but it’s clear to see now that they are all very close and many new friendships have been forged.

During the apprentice scheme I have mentored Tom who has always been fantastic to work with. Tom gives 100% anytime he is given a task, never complains and picks up information quickly. Sadly he has decided that the Recruitment Industry isn’t for him, however I am sure he will be a massive success wherever he decides to go. I am sure everyone will agree with me that Tom is almost unrecognisable now in comparison to when he first started. During his talk at the apprentice open evening Tom summed this up himself with “before Bright Purple I was a Boy now I feel I am a Man” this couldn’t be more accurate. It has been a fantastic experience for me personally working with Tom and I now consider him to be a good friend and from a personal point of view will be gutted to see him leave. I can honestly say that I am extremely proud to have worked with Tom and he should also be extremely proud of himself with all he has achieved.

Massive congratulations’ to Lewis, Craig, Sarah and Deonne you have all worked extremely hard over the last 6 months and have earned your permanent places at Bright Purple. It has been great working with you and I look forward to continuing to work with you over the coming months and years. I think it’s safe to say that all 6 of the Apprentices now have bright futures. The skills they have learnt over the last 6 months and their new found confidence will put them in a strong position moving forward be it with Bright Purple or elsewhere.

Apprentices – a breath of fresh air

(Emma Hill – Mentor, Bright Purple)

It seems only five minutes ago that I was asked to assist in the assessment day which would decide our 6 new apprentices. Now 6 months on they are going to graduate and will hopefully walk out of our doors on the 12th of July with the experiences and tools which will stand them in the stead they will need to achieve success.

It’s fair to say that no one knew exactly what to expect from the apprentice scheme, or who would be joining us for 6 months. I have friends who are teachers and they had filled my head with awful stories of teenagers looking for an easy ride with no aspiration. Nothing could have been further from the truth.

The best word I can use to sum up the experience up both as a mentor and as an employee of Bright Purple has been inspirational. We have been honoured to have Becky, Lewis, Deonne, Sarah, Tom and Craig here with us and I know I can speak for everyone particularly my fellow mentors when I say I have learnt just as much if not more from then as they have from me.

It is very easy to get caught up in the same rut, to start to take things for granted. No matter where we started, we all from time to time forget how hard we have worked and indeed how lucky we are to be where we are. The apprentices have been an absolute breath of fresh air and the perfect antidote to this.

They have grabbed this opportunity with both hands and thrown themselves into the programme with utterly infectious passion.  Coming in early staying late and finding anything they can to get involved in. Simply making it their mission to go the extra mile and give over and above what has been asked of them. It has been a joy to watch.

There is no doubt in my mind that each and every one of the apprentices will succeed because they want to, and because they will keep on until they do.

I can’t write this blog without mentioning the programme leader Marielle. She has been a fantastic support to the apprentices showing total dedication to each of them on an individual basis. I can say categorically that she has their absolute best interest at heart. She has totally thrown herself into each of their successes, which is I think is something that they perhaps were missing in their education and something they really needed and have benefitted from.

I’m not going to finish this by saying good luck to the apprentices. They don’t need it, they have determination. What I will say is, don’t take your foot off that peddle now, continue to work hard and show that infectious work ethic and you will be grand.

The future is BRIGHT, the future is PURPLE

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

The time is fast approaching and soon the famous 6 will no longer be a team within Bright Purple.  Since January it has been quite a journey, as individuals we have all had great successes but united together as a team we have enjoyed a lot more. The time is not of disappointment or sadness but a time of celebration and excitement.

Throughout the duration of the programme we have all been put through our paces and came out on top. We have been gifted with so many once in a life time opportunities which I will forever be grateful for. I plan to use the knowledge which I have built up over the programme and put it straight back into the business. My time as an apprentice has been one of huge challenges, hard work and great rewards. I think this is replicated throughout the company and something I want to be a part of and I am pleased to say that I have been given yet another opportunity by Bright Purple which I consider being the biggest and that is to become a fully established member of the team.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who has been involved in moulding me in to the success hungry career driven young man I am today. If it wasn’t for the hard work of Marielle and all the mentors then I don’t think I would have gone on to achieve what I have in such a short period of time. I would like to thank the wider Bright Purple team for their input throughout the programme in allowing us to learn from them and ask them thousands of questions. Both Caroline and Monica from DGM Training have been absolutely fantastic to all 6 apprentices and we owe a lot to them for their support, perseverance and wiliness to help. I also believe that all the guest speakers we have met with over the last 6 months have all made an impact on each apprentice in some way and I am thankful for their time. A massive thanks has to go to Gordon Dow owner of the Power Lunch Club (http://www.powerlunchclub.co.uk/) for supporting the Bright Future’s Apprentice scheme to the full and opening a lot of doors for myself and the other apprentices. He has taken great interest in our progress throughout the journey and has helped us along at every opportunity.

More importantly I would like to thank each and every single one of the apprentices. The list of reasons why is never ending but to state a few, the guys have always been there to help and support one another. We have stuck by each other through thick and thin.

Celebrating the many successes together we have also shared a few bumps along the way, but we remain stronger than ever.

I Look forward to what lies in front of me, and I know going forward I have the full backing of the Bright Purple team and 3 of my fellow apprentice colleagues. For those apprentices leaving Bright Purple I wish them all the success. I fully believe Becki will find the dream job she is looking for and will take what she has learnt at Bright Purple and use it as an effective tool going forward and as for Thomas, I know he will go on to be successful. He has all the determination in the world and is extremely hard working. Who knows, one day he may be super fit living the life in Australia as a personal trainer as he has always dreamed of.

Bright Purple has given me the belief to stop dreaming and actually go out there and make things happen. Nick Price has lead by example and is a living example of exactly what can be achieved through hard work, and the will to be successful.

A quote given to me by the girls at DGM Training “The best way to predict the future is to create it” I will use this throughout my life and fully believe I will go on to have a great career.

Goodbye, but it’s with my head held high

(Thomas Wilson – Apprentice, Bright Futures Programme)

The first chapter of my very short career is coming to an end and although I am pretty sad that I am leaving Bright Purple for pastures new, I know that the experience I have gained is going to put me in a great position for the future.

Unfortunately for me I quickly realised after a couple of weeks of making sales calls that sales wasn’t for me. As this was the role on offer from the start of the apprenticeship I knew that at the end of June I would be informed that I would be moving on in July.

Saying that, I have loved my time here at Bright Purple and I can’t think of anywhere else that would give 6 teenagers a chance to work in such a busy and professional, as well as inspirational business environment. It was quite a risky move for Bright Purple to take on the apprentices at this difficult economic time, but I definitely feel that it has been a successful program and I hope that they do it again for 6 more young people.

Rewinding back 6 months ago I couldn’t be more different. I had no confidence, no work experience and no ambition. I remember when I was in school that I wasn’t the most confident pupil; I used to duck out of things that scared me such as presentations. Thinking about it now it makes me smile, I now feel like a presentation guru. My first ever presentation at Bright Purple was sprung upon me and the other apprentices, we had to present a presentation about our lives. I remember being absolutely gutted hearing this news, presenting in front of 60+ people wasn’t my idea of a good time, but after practicing the presenting over and over again it started to feel natural to me and when I presented to my new colleagues I felt I performed well and I was so proud of myself, because I faced my fear and I won the battle.

I have had so many different high points in my time at Bright Purple, helping out our Lithuanian office by finding them new candidates on the market, working with the DGM team of Monica and Caroline, meeting very inspirational people such as Craig Paterson and Jennifer Cheyne, being named apprentice of the week 4 times and being trusted to create a brand new IT training course for the company. But nothing beats the Apprentice Open Evening for me.

I don’t think anybody will understand how much that night meant to me. During my time of unemployment I listened to the majority of my friends talk about their work with total dis-satisfaction and I used to sit and think, what is the point in doing something you hate so much?

So when I was asked if my family and friends would like to attend the Open Evening, I immediately asked my family but they couldn’t make it on the night, so I asked my friends Dean Horribine and Gavin Pettigrew to come and support me, as they are my most trustworthy friends. When my friends walked in to the office I was determined to show them how well I am doing for myself and to show them how much I am enjoying my work. I worked very hard on my presentation and I think it showed on the night. After the night was over looking at Dean and Gavin’s faces was priceless! It is something I’ll remember for the rest of my life; they were speechless and blown away. In the car journey home they were telling me how proud they were of me and how they wanted to achieve their own goals in their lives. I definitely take the credit for Dean winning a new contract and the under 19 player of the year at Hibernian FC, so if he goes on to play for Manchester United I am expecting a big bonus!

It was a very special night for me and to hear my friends were inspired by me is something I will never forget for the rest of my life.

I will never regret signing up at Bright Purple for the past 6 months. It has given me a foundation to move on to my career and I would never have done it without the support from Stuart Whiting my mentor, Marielle Tweedie the Head of the Bright Futures programme, Kevin Watters – DBA and of course Nick Price the CEO of Bright Purple, who gave me and the other 5 Bright Futures Apprentices this fantastic, once in a lifetime opportunity.

To my fellow apprentices, I want to thank you all for the past 6 months because you have all been incredible team mates and I want to wish you the very best of luck in your future careers and I know you will all be really successful in whatever career you pursue.

Leaving Bright Purple will obviously be a gut wrench for me as I am leaving behind some fantastic people. I have learnt from many speaker sessions that you should chase your passion and not your pension and that’s what I intend to do. Sports coaching and fitness is something that I am really passionate about and I have set myself goals to get back to fitness and chase that dream.

One thing for sure is this won’t be the last time you hear about me!

A Final Farewell – a new person emerges to take on the world

(Becki MunroApprentice, Bright Futures Programme)

Well this is my last ever week here at Bright Purple and I can honestly say that the journey here has been one of the best experiences of my young life so far. The last six months of my life have seen me move from an immature young girl to a brushed up young professional lady, who has ambitions to do well in her career. As the saying goes, I’m moving on to pastures new!

Just before the big decision was made about what apprentices were getting kept on, I found the courage to tell Marielle that a sales career wasn’t for me. If I’m being honest it did take me a while to find the confidence to say that because, I didn’t know how it would be perceived as I didn’t want it too look like I have been ungrateful for this amazing experience. The opportunities have been limitless – I’m not sure how one of my future roles will match up to this position that I gained here in January 2012, but I am very excited for the future.

Before I came to Bright Purple, I was working in a hairdressing studio because when I was younger that’s what I thought I wanted as a career, but as I was getting further into my training I realised that in fact the position I held there, wasn’t what I wanted to do and so I took the leap to finally leave and ended up at Bright Purple. Do I regret leaving the hairdressers the day I did? No, because if I never left that day I wouldn’t be sitting where I am now. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made, because being a Bright Purple Person I have turned into the success hungry young girl and now I’m craving to be as successful as I can be. I’ve been told many times that the sky is the limit and that keeps me inspired to do well.

When I started Bright Purple I wasn’t used to working in a sales environment so I wasn’t sure how to conduct myself in a professional working manner. I was very immature and looking back now it has shown me how unprofessional I must have appeared, through my ignorance of the work place. It was the way I acted while working in the hairdressers – loud and brassy! Six months down the line, I am professional and my business mind is always engaged.

When the 5 other apprentices and I first started the programme we were all assigned mentors. My mentor was Emma Nelson and I can 100% say without her support and guidance I wouldn’t be as polished as I am now. She was and still is as dedicated to me as the first day; my development has come on leaps and bounds with her help. She is more than a mentor now; I would class her as a friend. Whenever I need help or some reassurance in the future, I know I can turn to Emma. So Emma even though I’ve maybe not showed it every day – I just want you to know how much I have appreciated your help and still do! You were a great mentor. Thank you!!

I’d also like to say a MASSIVE thank you to Marielle and Nick who have gave me the opportunity to progress to where I am now! Thank you Nick for letting Marielle head up this programme and if every company like Bright Purple gave 6 young people the same chance as the one Nick gave us, then youth employment wouldn’t be hitting the 1 million mark that it is today. With all the time and effort that Marielle and Nick have given me, I deeply appreciate it from the bottom of my heart, especially for believing in me so much!

Everyone else in the Bright Purple office have been amazing to me and given their time up willingly to help me on the projects I was assigned to. To everyone else that I have met on my very short but amazing journey, I would like to say thanks to all of you for giving me the time of day and the chance to be the person I have become today. You have all made my time here very special and I can say it’s one journey that I won’t forget.

Also, if it wasn’t for the DGM girls I wouldn’t be here either, so Caroline and Monica, I want to thank you for all your hard work and dedication that you have shown me in the 6 months. Thank you for helping me to complete my SVQ Level 2 in Business Administration and allowing me to achieve it! It’s a great feeling knowing that I have achieved another recognised qualification without having to go back to school. Thank you again.

Lastly, I want to congratulate my fellow apprentices who have secured a full time position at Bright Purple and I want to wish you all the success in your career and in the future. Knowing that I was in the Famous 6 and one of the original apprentices is an amazing feeling and I can’t wait for Bright Purple to start up another apprenticeship group, because like we were all told from day one, make your time here your own and that is exactly what I have done. I will see the next 6 of apprentices on their Open Night and yes that’s me hinting to get invited back please Nick and Marielle.

I’ve had a ball here and it’s by far been a very memorable and life changing experience for me and my 5 Bright Future Apprentice colleagues.

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end”

(Marielle Tweedie – Head of Bright Futures Programme)

This week marks the last week of the Bright Futures Apprenticeship Programme and a 6 month journey for both the apprentices and I.  It seems not that long ago that I walked into the Academy to meet the new recruits and thought to myself what have I let myself in for. The young people who sat around that table in January were scared, unprofessional and looked like they had rolled in from a night out on the tiles or were from the cast of Geordie Shore (modern equivalent to Harry Enfield’s The Young Ones). The night before they started I had slept for an hour and I felt just as nervous as this was a new chapter in my career too.

The last 6 months have been filled with projects, speaker sessions, events, networking, training workshops, coursework, sales, teamwork, development and facing new challenges. The apprentice programme has been full on from day one and our apprentices have been thrown into the deep end. Something that I feel has allowed them to grow so much in such a short time.

With less than a week to go we have now announced to the business who will be staying at Bright Purple and continuing their career with us and who will be moving on to pastures new.  Tom and Becki have decided that sales is not for them and they are now pursuing new careers in the industries of banking and customer service. They already have a stack of interviews lined up with excellent organisations. DGM and I have been helping them with their preparation for these and it is amazing to see the confidence they are showing going into them. Working in recruitment has helped them to understand the importance of selling yourself, interview do’s and don’ts, standing out from the other candidates and more importantly how to make a lasting impression.  I truly believe that the skills they have learnt on the programme will help them for the rest of their careers in business and will act as a launch pad into the marketplace. As one door closes another opens and I have no doubt that Tom and Becki will be successful in life. The good thing about Bright Purple is that even though they are moving on our door will always be open to them.

For the apprentices that are staying the hard work starts here! When we announced to them who was being given a place they were eternally grateful and I have no doubt that going forward in their careers with us they will continue to build on their already massive list of achievements within the business. The apprentices that are staying with us are:

  • Lewis will work as a Trainee Resourcer in the Bright Purple contract team
  • Craig Lamb will continue to work in the International Resourcing team as a Trainee Resourcer
  • Sarah will work in the Permanent team as a Trainee Resourcer
  • Deonne will be doing an Office Junior role which will include providing Evolve support and  resourcing support to begin with

Congratulations to all the apprentices for finishing your apprenticeship with your heads held high and showing a fantastic work ethic and passion for Bright Purple until the very last day. On Thursday 12th July at lunchtime all the apprentices will be taking part in an Apprentice Graduation in The Academy at Bright Purple.  This will celebrate their achievements and I am delighted that all of them will be awarded their SVQ qualification.

The programme has been so packed and busy that I think it is important sometimes to take a step back and actually look at what we have done in such a small space of time. Tom and Becki put together some of the highlights on the programme and the skills that they have picked up. I think these show just some of the things they have learned and how we have helped them:

  • Newsletter– One of my greatest achievements at Bright Purple was being asked to be the News Editor of the apprentice newsletter. This involved reviewing the newsletter content, designing the layout and constructing the finished edition. This was an excellent opportunity for me to use my creative skills and show attention to detail.
  •  Customer Service– All of the projects I have taken part in has involved giving excellent customer service. I covered our busy reception and acted as a front of house, greeting visitors to the sales floor and assisting them. Whilst resourcing (calling candidates about job opportunities and finding out their information) I have shown an extremely professional and consciousness approach when speaking to candidates, both on the telephone and on a face to face basis.
  •  Database and Confidentiality– I have experience in cleaning, adding and sorting candidate and client information in large quantities on a Database (Evolve). Doing this means I have shown great attention to detail and I understand/ display the need for confidentiality when dealing with this critical data. While working on Evolve, I was given the task to cleanse over 7000 names to make the system run smoother. I also worked from a list of 77,000 names of duplicates, deleting and merging candidate records together.
  •  Pre Employment Screening (PES) – Working with Judit Czobor, our Operations Manager – PES & Contracts, I assisted in the PES area which involved checking candidate’s passport information, issuing contracts and extensions and updating records. This meant showing a high level of confidentiality and making sure the information is accurate and up to date.
  • Presentations – As part of the programme I have delivered business focused presentations to senior level individuals and large groups of 70+ people.  Some of the people I have presented to on a one to one basis include Craig Paterson (CEO of Football Aid), Jennifer Cheyne (Founder of Cheynes Hairdressers), Margaret Hassall (International CIO Corporate Commercial and Investment Banking at Bank of America), Gordon Samson (Managing Director at Williams Lea) and Chris Van Der Kuyl (Founder of Bright Solid). I was also given the amazing chance to meet the Nobel Peace Prize Winner Professor Mohammed Yunus.
  •  Communicating in the business environment– In all the projects I have undertaken I have had to communicate in a clear and concise manner using different tools such as email, meetings, calls to candidates and letters. On resourcing projects for our Lithuanian and Singaporean offices I have spoken with candidates from across the globe and sold them recruitment opportunities.
  • Working with DGM Training Consultants – DGM are the training provider for our SVQ Level 2 in Business Administration. The course is similar to a driving test; we had to do theory and practical work for several activities. E.g. we had to write up how we would present a presentation then we actually had to present.
  • Attended Networking Events – I attended several networking events which included the Power Lunch Club (which is for senior directors and CEO’s), the Inspiring Scotland Open Evening at The Mound and an Audience with Nobel Peace Prize Winner Professor Muhammad Yunus. During these I promoted the Bright Purple brand and acted as an ambassador for the company.
  •  Arranging Events – The apprentice team and I were responsible for arranging an open night for our family, friends, colleagues and members of the Edinburgh Business community. We organised every aspect of the night and also presented to an audience of 70+.
  • Writing Blogs – As part of the programme I read broadsheet newspapers and keep up to date with the marketplace through reading business news and watching television bulletins. I also write articles for our online blog.  The topics cover the apprentice programme, politics, youth employment, my journey and society.
  • Training – In my time at Bright Purple I have undertaken numerous training courses and workshops. These include; Communication in a business environment, Evolve Database Training, Recruitment Juice, I.T Demystified, Social Media as a business tool, Corporate Social Responsibility, Team skills, Resourcing, Confidentiality , Customer Services/ Quality Provision and Business Marketplaces.

As they say in life “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end” so there will be no tears on Friday (although I can’t vouch for Nick!!!) Working with the apprentices has been a fantastic opportunity. It has helped my learning and development and I think it has allowed me to grow as a person and become a young leader. Leading a team (especially one that is not used to an office environment!) has been a great learning curve and I have picked up new skills that I can bring back in to resourcing with me. It has taught me to be more assertive/ how to problem solve and how to motivate others. In addition it has been good to share my resourcing knowledge and the information I have picked up in my time at Bright Purple.  I know that next time we run the programme the “famous 6” will be able to do the same and help the next group of young people who come through the Academy doors. I am sure that in 10 years time they will be inspirational leaders who remember the importance of giving someone a chance.

 

“All hail the conquering heroes”

(Nick Price – CEO, Bright Purple)

I can’t believe that 6 month’s has already passed and our idea of taking on board and developing six Scottish youngsters from raw talent, and producing valuable contributors to society and Bright Purple is at an end for now. The time has flown by and it’s fair to say that what we have seen has been nothing short of remarkable.

In December 2011 we interviewed 12 kids who came from that piece of society the grown up world in Britain likes to talk about as ‘the lost generation,’ they arrived at Bright Purple to take part in a day of activities aimed at finding 6 genuine candidates for a competition to find 2 full time staff for our company. I remember introducing myself around the table in the Academy to 12 young people who lacked confidence, who weren’t quite sure how they should act, they often didn’t make eye contact and most definitely didn’t feel like smiling!

That day ended with us taking on board the Famous 6, Becki, Lewis, Sarah, Thomas, Deonne and Craig, as they were the ones who showed during the sessions the desire we needed to believe they were up for the challenge ahead.

January came and they started the apprenticeships in earnest and to be honest, I don’t think they’ve ever looked back and I certainly know as CEO of Bright Purple, I have never seen a group work so hard to get the job done. They have consistently shown that passion and willingness to learn, they have never let me, my colleagues or our firm down and they kept going to the end, working together like a true team.

Now the first piece of the story ends and we wanted to find 2 new Bright Purple People and guess what, we find 4! We held our final interviews with the apprentices a couple of weeks ago and then a panel consisting of Marielle (who ran the whole programme), myself and DGM (Monica and Caroline), the consultants behind the SVQ qualification each apprentice received and also the people who originally helped us identify our 6, had to make the hard call on who stays and who goes.

Those staying, Sarah, Craig, Lewis and Deonne and those going Becki and Thomas have all done fantastic jobs while here with us, they have made us all proud of the fact that they have shown that you might not be academic, but it doesn’t mean that you cant achieve. You might not have been inspired or motivated through the earlier years, but it doesn’t mean you can’t find that spark to light the fuse that sends you on a new orbit, one of achievement.

You’ll hear more from other people at Bright Purple about their experiences over the last 6 months, you’ll hear more from those staying and those going, so all I wanted to talk about was my experiences learnt from this exercise.

For me the lessons learnt are simple ones:

  • Youth does have a future if you believe in them, motivate them, inspire them and let them have the freedom to show you what they are capable of.
  • Further education and academic achievement while important should not be viewed as a blocker to future success or achievement of your goals and aspirations if you don’t have it!
  • Age is no barrier to success if you have the desire to want to win at everything you do.
  • Perceptions work both ways, how adults see youth of today and how the young view adults. Adults might think that just because a kid isn’t employed or can’t seem to find that motivation to get going that they have nothing to offer – wrong! The youngsters might think all adults have no interest in their future; senior people wouldn’t be willing to talk with them, again all wrong. One of the biggest challenges we all face on the subject of youth and their future is getting passed the perceptions we hold in our heads.
  • Inspiration comes in many forms and I have been inspired purely by the passion and desire of 6 youngsters to prove their worth to my organisation.

I want to wish Becki and Thomas a great career in the future, I know what they have taken from Bright Purple will be of value to them as they look to develop further. For Sarah, Lewis, Craig and Deonne, you are all now Bright Purple People, you worked hard for 6 months to get these career’s with us, but now the real hard work starts as you move in to real jobs with the firm. Success is waiting for you if you want it bad enough and are willing to commit yourself to the challenges you’ll undoubtedly face in the months and years ahead.