The First Minister embraces a PURPLE Scotland

(By Lewis O’Connor – Trainee Resourcer at Bright Purple Resourcing)
Wednesday 18th July was one of my biggest days in Bright Purple. I and the other apprentices have been given numerous opportunities to meet with well-established and influential business people throughout the programme. Today we were gifted with the chance to meet with both Angela Constance (Minister for Youth Employment) and our very own First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond accompanied by a stampede of film crews and photographers.

The experience has been yet another one to cherish and it rates as another memorable event in my short career here at Bright Purple. To think back to where I was 6 months ago with a dead end job and no real ambition, belief or sense of direction to know sitting alongside two of the most influential people in Scotland, holding my own in a discussion which is affecting my friends, family and the whole nation.

I was extremely inspired by their visit and it still hasn’t quite yet sunk in. I was blown away by their huge interest in the programme and also how we as individuals have developed and grown into young business men and women. It was so refreshing to meet with the First Minster and Angela Constance and to hear just how down to earth they really are and how passionate they are about youth unemployment something which has been an obstacle in my life and so many other young bright people out there.

To be in a position where I was able to express my feelings and share my views on what I think can be done to help, with such a hugely well debated issue as youth unemployment with the man at the very top of Scottish politics was unbelievable. I along with the other apprentices was able to tell both the First Minister and Angela Constance, how Bright Purple is bucking the trend by believing and trusting in its young people. Explaining that if other businesses were to take notice of the work being done here at Bright Purple they would soon reap the rewards as Bright Purple have by adding a dynamic, fresh and new way of thinking in the business. In return for the hard work and support provided throughout the modern apprentice you gain employees with a lot of hunger, ambition and the will to succeed.

The day has been one of great accomplishment for all involved. I know for sure that I and the other apprentices were inspired and hugely grateful for the opportunity and will take a lot out of the meeting. The wider Bright Purple team were honoured to host such a well know prestigious guest and I am sure the First Minister left with a lot of food for thought. He heard first-hand the challenges faced by youngsters and just how much potential they have if given the chance.

The First Minister commented he should have worn purple, given we were all dressed in something purple – next time maybe he will?

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Bright Purple – flying the flag for Youth Unemployment

(Thomas Wilson – Apprentice at Bright Purple Resourcing)

 Tuesday the 17th of July 2012 seemed like it was going to end like a normal day. But at Bright Purple we don’t do normal, we do EXCEPTIONAL.

 Marielle, myself and my fellow apprentices were in a meeting discussing an expected visit the next day from Angela Constance, the Minister for Youth Employment, which in itself was quite a nerve-wracking prospect. However Amanda Jeffrey, Marketing and Social Media Manager at Bright Purple burst in to the meeting room out of breath and shaking like mad! Amanda announced to us all that Alex Salmond, our First Minister was actually coming to the Bright Purple office to meet us – now I was really nervous.

Hearing the news took a few minutes to settle in to be honest. When I got home my parents were over the moon, as it wasn’t just me who just received good news, my brother had been told that he would be joining the Livingston FC first team for a friendly match against Brechin City.

As I had to come in to the office at 08.15am I had to get myself up at 6.30am, which I can assure you is the earliest I have ever had to get up in my life! I arrived to work at 08.10am and to say I was drenched from the unrelenting Scottish rain is an understatement. It wasn’t a good start to the morning as I had to go and buy a new shirt! But saying that it was really important for me to look my best, I was meeting the First Minister and the Minister for Youth Employment and if it meant spending money to meet them, then that’s what I had to do.

When I walked down to the Bright Purple Academy I couldn’t believe my eyes, there was so much media downstairs it was really mind blowing.

When Angela and the First Minister arrived I was quite shocked, as I had seen Alex Salmond on television many times and in the news papers often and it was a really weird feeling to see him in person and in our offices. Sitting down and speaking to the First Minister and the Minster for Youth Employment about my experience of life as a Scottish youth is a sentence I thought I would never write in my lifetime. It was a very unusual feeling because as we were speaking the photographers were clicking away like mad on their cameras! I could tell that First Minister and Ms. Constance were both very interested in what we were saying and it was such a huge honour to have them here at Bright Purple.

It was an incredible feeling that such high profile people in our country were actually interested what Bright Purple were doing and therefore in me and my fellow apprentices. I think that we have definitely given them something to think about and it is all down to the fantastic Bright Purple team.

Without them I wouldn’t be here today. Not only did they take a chance on me in January 2012 and delivered so much to me over 6 months, but after I didn’t get the full time post, they gave me the opportunity to stay on for another month to help them with the Database Migration.

I can’t thank them enough for all of the opportunity they have put in my path.

Inspiring young purple people, inspiring Scotland

(By Andrew Muirhead, CEO of Inspiring Scotland)

On Thursday 12th July I returned to the Inspiring Scotland office and I felt distinictevely bright purple.

I had just attended the Bright Purple Academy’s first ever graduation ceremony for their group of 6 Bright Futures Apprentices and met their Graduates; a group of motivated, enthusiastic, committed, professional, engaged and inspirational young people – I was hugely impressed.

Like Bright Purple’s CEO Nick Price, and the rest of his team, I’m passionate about tackling some of the countries toughest social issues in a strategic and collaborative way.  The Youth unemployment in this country is frightening.  But what is even more scary is the outlook for the next generations if we don’t do anything.

At Inspiring Scotland we’ve invested over £20 million in a fund which has supported over 12,000 young people to be in the best possible place to secure a job, place in education or training.  To do this we’ve formed a unique partnership across the private, public and not-for-profit sector.  One sector can’t solve this issue on it’s own, we need everyone pulling together in the same direction and only then will we  begin to make a significant and sustained difference.

Congratulations to the Academy’s Graduates and thank you to Bright Purple for allowing me to share in the experience.

Nick Price, Bright Purple’s CEO commented: “ the work that Andrew Muirhead and the team of dedicated people at Inspiring Scotland can’t be underestimnated and the organisation makes a significant difference to young lives across Scotland on a daily basis.”

He went on to say “We were delighted when Andrew came to Bright Purple’s Academy to meet and talk with the apprentices, who at that time were far greener than they are today and he delivered an inspirational session with them, but that’s what we expected because he’s an inspirational man and we thank him for dedicating his time to our young people, who benefited greatly from it.”

You can see more about Inspiring Scotland and the wonderful work they do here at – http://www.inspiringscotland.org.uk/

Celebrate good times – the 12th July, a memorable day for our apprentices

(Marielle Tweedie – Resourcer at Bright Purple Resourcing)

Gaining fantastic new skills, experiencing once in a lifetime opportunities, meeting millionaires, attending events at Hamden, appearing on television and radio, presenting to politicians and key policy makers, taking part in business critical projects and assisting the Bright Purple team, are not the only things the apprentices have gained in their time at Bright Purple. I am delighted to say they have now all successfully completed their SVQ in Business and Administration Level 2 and last week we held a graduation with a difference to mark their achievements.

Robert Orden describes a graduation ceremony as “an event where the commencement speaker tells thousands of students dressed in identical caps and gowns that ‘individuality’ is the key to success.” But here at Bright Purple we do things differently and we wanted to not only celebrate them receiving their SVQ, but also their individual efforts on the programme and that’s what happened on the 12th July 2012.

In addition to a full house of Bright Purple people we were also joined in the Academy by friends on the programme who have given their time and effort including Neil Francis from Company Net and The Together Partnership, Andrew Muirhead CEO of Inspiring Scotland, Monica Black and Veronica McNeill from DGM and Gordon Dow from The Power Lunch Club.

Nick Price, Bright Purple’s CEO had kicked off the proceedings, discussing why we decided to run the programme, how we have been impressed from a business perspective by the young people’s steely determination and resilience and why it has turned out to be such a success.

My own presentation was slightly different – I finished it by saying it was a day for celebration and used a balloon prop to highlight my point. I delivered my line “let’s end things with a bang” and burst the balloon with a pin. I hadn’t had a dress rehearsal of this so I jumped just as high as the other people in the room!

The apprentices have worked together as a team over the last 6 months and have really bonded. Tom and Becki have decided that sales is not for them so they will be exploring new opportunities in the areas of banking and sports science and have already secured interviews with organisations that include HSBC and The Leith Agency.  A really touching part of the graduation was when the apprentices that were staying put together short presentations for both Becki and Tom to mark their achievements.  Tom was gobsmacked and visibly touched by the words that Lewis had put together for him.

The whole graduation was quite an emotional event as the team at Bright Purple have worked extremely closely with the apprentices and have seen them grow from a group of inexperienced kids to polished professional recruiters and seeing the transformation and hearing the apprentices talk about their gratitude to us all was extremely touching.  There were definitely a few packets of Kleenex used in The Academy when they delivered their thanks.

Also in the audience was a special guest from the Scottish Government, Danny McDonald who works with Angela Constance the Minister for Youth Employment. He had come along to see what the programme involved.

When Neil Francis came in to visit the apprentices and take part in a speaker session, he told them that when the programme finished they should leave with their heads held high and in the weeks leading up to their graduation he recommended they watch the Steve Jobs video of him delivering his commencement speech to the graduates of Stanford University in 2005. In it he talks about getting fired from Apple in 1985, also life and death.

I think everyone should watch this video as it highlights exactly the atmosphere that was in the Bright Purple Academy the day the apprentices received their certificates.  Although the programme is coming to an end there will be another graduation in 6 months time as Lewis, Deonne, Craig and Sarah continue to grow in their careers by working with DGM to complete their SVQ Level 3 in Business and Administration here at Bright Purple. This gives me another 6 months to come up with another presentation prop!

Here is the link to the Steve Jobs video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1R-jKKp3NA

How to become a new person in six months

(Deonne Budge  – Apprentices, Bright Futures Programme)

This is a photograph of me in my first weeks of January 2012 as a new apprentice with Bright Purple and with my friend and fellow apprentice Becki – she’s the one in the red ear muffs!

Six months have passed and it is now the end of the apprentice programme and it has not long been announced that I have gained a permanent place here at Bright Purple. Looking back prior to January 2012 I was working in a job that I did not like, I didn’t have a career plan but everything changed when I came to Bright Purple and over the last six months, I have done things I dreamed of doing when I first arrived back in January. My own journey here as an apprentice has now ended so quickly and it has been an exceptional and emotional journey. I know other people in their late teens and early 20’s by just getting a small part of the opportunities I have had working in this environment, would help them to think more positively about their own futures.

One of the best part’s of my experiences I would have to say is having had the opportunity of working with the wonderful Emma Hill. Emma was my mentor for the first three months and I just don’t think I would be sitting where I am just now if it wasn’t for her. She is such an inspiration to me and every time I thought I couldn’t do something, Emma helped me believe that I could.

At the start of the programme I would never have written a blog on my own and all my life I have had difficulties with reading and writing, but it is something that Bright Purple has continued to help me with and also helped me the importance of learning to communicate in a professional manner.

We, the six apprentices all were told when first starting in January that there were going to be two places made available in the sales team at the end of the programme. I always worked hard and I wanted to make sure I gave myself a chance of gaining a permanent place at Bright Purple, but as the decision day came closer and closer I decided to myself that sales wasn’t for me. I loved the company and really wanted to work in Bright Purple, but couldn’t see myself in a sales role any longer.

So I plucked up the courage and decided to tell Marielle that I was thinking of moving on to do something else, to try to gain more experience in administration or in a reception and use my organisation skills, which is something I am good at and love doing. When I first told Marielle my thoughts, she said to me to do what I think is right for me and so I started looking for a new position half way to decision day, but it was really hard and almost everything I applied for I never got a response, it was very disappointing.

When the day finally came, D-day as we all started to call it, I knew that I wasn’t going to gain a place here given I had made it known I didn’t want a sales role and so I was just waiting to see who was going to be the lucky ones. Four of us, Lewis, Sarah, Craig and I got taken into the Academy and we didn’t know what was going on, then Marielle said we have 4 envelopes with each of your names on it and inside it ether says you have a place or not. For the people who are not successful, we will help you to find something else – imagine how you would feel?

I thought to myself this is strange, so I just opened my card and it said that I has been successful and waited to see who else had got a place. It turned out that all four of us had a place and we were all excited, emotional and over the moon. As we all sat and took in the good news and I was still thinking to myself, if I don’t want to do sales what would I be doing if I didn’t get this chance?

At Bright Purple there are opportunities to work your way up to be the best, we are taught that the sky is the limit in this company and it is only our own lack of desire and drive to be a success story that can stop us moving forward. So for now I am helping our database team with the transfer of data from our old technology system to the new system. Whilst I am working with this team, I am also completing my Scottish Vocational Level 3 in Business and Administration – still learning while working.

Neil Lafferty is the Sales Director in Bright Purple and is someone who is always very busy and is always easy to talk with and I spoke to Neil about doing duties that a PA would need to do and this will help give me the evidence that I need to complete my level 3. This is something I have only dreamed of completing and to think those six months ago I was struggling to come across in a professional manner and didn’t think I would make it to the end of the programme against such exceptional and confident young people, like my five other apprentice colleagues. Now taking the initiative to work closely with Neil Lafferty our Sales Director and learning about the new technology system, where I will hopefully get involved in helping to deliver the training to all new staff. If this is what I can do in six months, then I can’t wait to see what the next six months will bring.

I am Bright Purple – I was given the chance and I took it

(Sarah Dougal – Apprentice, Bright Futures Programme)

It may now be the end of the apprentice programme, but for me I feel it is only the beginning. Nick Price – CEO of Bright Purple took a massive chance on the 9th of January 2012, because that was the day he allowed six new employees into his Bright Purple company.

We weren’t just any new employees, we were six 17-19 year olds, with no real work experience, drive or confidence to succeed and perhaps at the beginning, the firm may have felt they had made the wrong decision or had bitten off more than they could chew. But I’m sure to their delight what a chance it was to prove their point and even if I do say so, it most definitely paid off for us all. The six ‘kids’ have transformed into success hungry, determined, confident business people and we owe it all to Bright Purple.

In the economic climate which Scotland is facing at moment the youth of today is struggling and the figures of youth unemployment are terrifyingly going through the roof and therefore facing being young, unemployed and feeling like you are stuck with no way out or anyway forward, can really scar a young person. It can knock their confidence like you wouldn’t believe and it can leave them feeling that being unemployed is all they can achieve in life. All we need is a break. We need people to trust us and give us our chance in life. We need experience to help get us on the career ladder…we need apprenticeships! If there were more apprenticeships like Bright Purple’s then I genuinely feel we would begin to see a difference in the youth unemployment rates. If people in business like Nick gave more youngsters the chance to show what we’re made of, perhaps the older generation would begin to see we really aren’t all thugs, violent and lazy.

Not only did Nick take a chance on me, but I also took a chance on Bright Purple. I was 17, at school, lacked self-belief and wasn’t sure what to do. I knew I wanted to start my career and I knew I wanted to start making my own money and yes I could see what I wanted, but lacked the ingredients to help me get there. I took a massive leap of faith to leave school, but was guided by DGM and was then given a boost by Bright Purple onto the career ladder and therefore I can thankfully say it was the best decision I have ever made.

We have been given mind blowing opportunities over the six months which I can easily say not many, if any people our age will have experienced. We have been given the chance to go and listen to inspirational people speak, such as Nobel Peace Prize winner Professor Muhammad Yunus, who was unbelievably inspirational and most definitely left a long lasting impression on me.

We have been given the chance to present in front of inspirational entrepreneurs such as, Craig Paterson, Hera Hussain, Andrew Muirhead, Jennifer Cheyne, Carol Scrambler, Neil Francis and many more. Once again what 17-19 year olds can say they have presented in front of millionaires and amazing entrepreneurs?

I was also given the opportunity to attend a Youth Employment Convention at Dundee College which was something I most definitely benefited from, as it is a topic I feel extremely strongly about. Then my CEO Nick Price asked me to attend a Holyrood Apprenticeship event, but to my surprise I was then chosen to present at it! An unbelievably nerve racking experience where I presented to over 100 politicians and key speakers, but once I got up onto the stage  and conveyed my opinions about youth unemployment and how I feel apprenticeships are the way forward to solve the problem, I absolutely loved it! It was the turning point for me in the programme and it was the point where I realised just how far I had come and how much I had changed. It was the point where I realised that if I could do that, I could do anything I wanted to.

The opportunities don’t stop there as most recently my fellow apprentice Lewis and I were given the chance to speak on the radio station, Castle FM…yes me on the radio!! We were chosen to speak on Castle FM about our experiences as apprentices at Bright Purple, which I absolutely loved and was another hurdle which I can gladly say I leaped over with huge energy and positivity.

I have so many people to thank for this incredible opportunity. Firstly of course my CEO Nick Price and without Nick’s passion and stubborn desire to look at the potential of Scotland’s youth, I wouldn’t be here today and I most certainly would not be the new and improved Sarah! He has provided endless support and has never stopped believing in the apprentices, something every youngster needs. He is a completely inspirational person, a man who’s passion and determination is contagious. I cannot wait to continue working with him during my time at Bright Purple, but most importantly I can’t wait to continue learning more and more from him. Thank you Nick for this once in a life time opportunity I have not only been given, but earned.

Marielle Tweedie, Head of the Bright Futures Programme! ‘Superstar’ wouldn’t be generous enough words to describe her and Marielle along with Nick, took a chance on us and took huge pieces of time out of her resourcing role to help us on our journey of success and transformation. Marielle has stuck by us every inch of the way, filling us with knowledge and support. I know for a fact if it wasn’t for Marielle the six of us would have struggled, so I for one will be forever thankful.

And then there’s Alex Pullen, my mentor and if it wasn’t for Alex I know for sure my time at Bright so far would not have been as smooth as it has been. She is always there to reassure me and would do anything to make sure she helps me as much as she can. At Bright Purple Alex has been the person I can go to if I’m worried or stuck, but thankfully with Alex there are no negatives, only positives and so I never have a problem for long. Alex is incredible and I most definitely picked the lucky straw when I got her as my personal mentor. There are no words to describe how grateful I am. Thank you Alex!

And finally, last but not least my fellow apprentices.

I’m sure we will all agree that at the beginning we perhaps didn’t get off to the best of starts, putting six youngsters all around the same age together all at once? Of course clashes had to occur, as it was just like a big brother situation where we had all been put together with personalities like chalk and cheese, different opinions and different ways of doing things and we are all young, so of course we all thought our way was the best way. But I’m glad to say it didn’t last long and we settled our differences, came together and became stronger than ever. We began to complement each other and we became unbelievably supportive of one another.

To ‘the famous six’, I wish all of you all the luck in the world although I know you won’t need it as I know each and every one of you WILL successful in whatever you choose to do. Thank you all for being amazing Bright Purple Apprentices!!!

Although I have mentioned a few specific people, I should mention everyone at Bright Purple as they have all played a part in helping me on my journey at Bright Purple. I will now go on to be a resourcer in our permanent recruiting team and it’s my second day in the team, interviews are already coming my way, definitely time for me to experience some more Bright Purple success!

Six months ago I was a young, shy, inexperienced woman – look at me now, I am a Bright Purple Person.

 The best way to predict the future is to create it.

Helping young people to have their say

(Deonne Budge – Apprentice, Bright Futures Programme)

Marielle Tweedie who is Head of the Bright Futures Programme and a Resourcer in our busy sales team, still somehow find’s time to volunteer at Citadel Youth Centre – http://www.citadelyouthcentre.org.uk/

The Citadel Youth Centre offers local children & young people aged between 6 and 21yrs opportunities for fun, meeting friends, trying new things and having experienced youth workers there for help and support. The Citadel helps young people to have their say and with a view to making Edinburgh’s Leith area a good place to grow up.

On the 26th June Rachel and Andy who are two youth workers at the Citadel Youth Centre came to Bright Purple with three of their teenagers to see how a Recruitment Agency works and to find out more about the Apprentice programme. Tom and I talked about our background before Bright Purple and we talked about how lucky we are to have been accepted in to Bright Purple, not only to work in the company but also to be a part of the social life as well.

Spending the time with the citadel team was great something I feel I can relate to, because while I am happy doing the role I do now, it doesn’t mean I have felt that way. It has taken a lot of hard work and really improved my confidence. You must believe in yourself, everyone else telling you that you can do something isn’t the same as telling yourself and believing in yourself.

For the Citadel teenagers, Tessa, Jordon and Scott I believe that they have the desire to get on in life and I would be happy to help in any way I can, even if it’s sharing my experiences so far. It was such a pleasure to talk with you all and I would just like to say to everyone who follows our blogs, that citadel are doing a fantastic job at helping young people in Edinburgh to get some focus. Keep up the good work Citadel.