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.

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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?

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/

Dreams can come true – if you believe in you

(Sarah Dougal – Apprentice, Bright Futures Programme)

Friday the 1st of June may have just been an ordinary day for most people but for us, the 6 apprentices at Bright Purple it was our very own D-Day.

It was the day that Bright Purple had my future in their hands and there was nothing I could do to control or influence it. I can safely say that on that Friday morning my own nerves were certainly beginning to show and the only thing on all of our minds was the decision which would make a huge impact on our lives.

As time went on excruciatingly slowly, the more I began to think about the conclusions of the day – would I get the full-time position or would I not? Finally, at 2’Oclock much to my relief the wheels were set in motion and we were gradually taken in one by one for our separate and final interviews, which was our last chance to impress and prove that we were future Bright Purple people. During our interviews we were faced with having to justify why we felt we should be offered a permanent position to Marielle – Head of the Bright Futures Programme,  Diana – HR, Caroline and Monica – directors of DGM and who have taken us through our SVQ and of course Nick Price – CEO. I can safely say that at the age of 18 having to prove that I was worthy of a place at Bright Purple to the man who owns and drives it, most definitely wins first place for being the most nerve racking experience I have ever encountered. But nothing could have prepared me for the nail biting wait which was ahead, as we had to hang on until 5 O’clock, after all the interviews had been completed until we learned our fate!

With 5 O’clock quickly approaching anxiety was taking over and we were all focused on one thing – becoming a Bright Purple person. Two of our apprentice colleagues had decided that their futures were not at Bright Purple and didn’t want to follow a career in sales, but that still meant 2 of us would be leaving with them. Our nerves spiralled when Marielle split the 4 remaining apprentices into smaller groups and sent 2 of us into the Thinkubator and the other 2 into the boardroom downstairs. For this I was paired with Craig Lamb – A.K.A the “Jobfather”. I can honestly say I went from being anxious to distraught after only spending a few minutes with Craig, as positive thinking most definitely was not his strong point at that moment in time!

Thankfully, after only a short time we were called downstairs into the academy along with my fellow apprentices where finally we would find out if we were going to be successful or not.

Never did I think I would be almost too nervous to open an envelope but on Friday 1st June I most definitely was. The four remaining apprentices were each handed a plain envelope which inside held our fate – a terrifying thought with a celebratory conclusion!

I, Lewis, Deonne and Craig’s dreams came true as we were confronted with a card informing us that we had actually all earned a permanent place at Bright Purple and that the firm had decided that it would recruit 4 instead of 2 full time staff to add to the existing Bright Purple team.

The feelings I felt are indescribable in print, but I can honestly say I am forever grateful for the mind blowing opportunity which Bright Purple has given me which I will now grab with both hands. Although I have secured a permanent position at bright purple it will not decrease the amount of hard work I will put in. I am determined, success hungry and will not let Nick, Marielle or anyone who has believed in me down. There’s no limit to what I can achieve and I have everyone at Bright Purple to thank for helping me realise that. Bright Purple has opened an incredible amount of doors for me and has been the stepping stones I needed to get me onto the career ladder where the only way is up – success is now in my reach!There is one saying I most definitely believe in and it’s the saying I said consistently to myself on Friday. It is – ‘what’s meant for you won’t go by you’ and Bright purple is unquestionably for me.

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.

“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.