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!’

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