A night to remember

On Wednesday 21st November we attended Scotland’s Apprentice Awards 2012 which held at the Glasgow Science Centre.

The evening started with a drinks reception in the main lobby, you could feel the excitement in the air and everyone was dressed in their best finery. After a few sparkling wines we were ushered into the large IMAX auditorium where the award presentations were to take place.  We took our seats and the evening was kicked off by Sally Magnusson our compere for the evening, Sally then introduced Angela Constance – Minister for Youth Employment as our keynote speaker.  I have heard Ms Constance speak on many occasions but tonight seemed extra special as it was an event celebrating those who have put all the hard work in to making these apprenticeships work.  The first category was Small Employer, the one we were up for.  Sally read out the finalist names and a bit about each company, she then announced the winner, and it was us!!!  Our two Apprentices Sarah and Craig took to the stage to collect the award amidst a roar of applause.  Photo by Kieran Chambers Photography

We are absolutely delighted to win this award and is great recognition for the hard work that has been put into our Bright Futures Programme from everyone involved the apprentices, mentors, staff, trainers, inspirational speakers and many more, thank you everyone.  We would also like to thank all the Apprentices involved with the Bright Futures Programme, including those that have moved on from Bright Purple; Deonne Budge, Becki  Munro, Thomas Wilson and Lewis O’Connor.

Congratulations to all the winners there were some great and inspirational stories!

Photo by Kieran Chambers Photography

Comments from Craig Lamb – Apprentice – Bright Futures Programme

When I got asked to attend Scotland’s Modern Apprenticeship Awards I was honoured, the whole experience was like nothing I have ever done before. Sally Magnusson kicked off the event and explained to all the finalists what would happen throughout the evening. Bright Purple was in the category for the small employer’s award along with two other companies. When Sally Magnusson said “And the winner of Small Employers category is……BRIGHT PURPLE” there was a roar of joy from all five Bright Purple staff attending the event. Sarah and myself had to make the long walk to the stage were we had to collect the award, when we reached the stage we were handed the award and given a round of applause from the audience. It was a great evening a very successful one for Bright Purple.

Comments from Sarah Dougal – Apprentice – Bright Futures Programme

This time last year I was in 6th year at High school, unhappy and under confident with so many plans to kick start my career but no idea how to get there. I find it completely mind-blowing that myself and Craig attended the Apprenticeship Awards at the Glasgow Science Centre. Not only were we given the opportunity to attend this inspiring event we also picked up an award for the best Small Employer which myself and Craig went up to the stage to collect.

When Bright Purple was announced as the winner I was overcome by emotions. It was a reality check of how far all the apprentices and I have come and how dramatic and life changing the experiences we have been given have been. When I actually sat back and thought about everything we have achieved, being presented with the award last night made it all so worthwhile and highlighted how far we have come. I felt like all our hard work and determination had paid off and was recognised by so many people.

It was an amazing experience and one I know for certain I won’t forget. It was my first chance to attend Business Awards and I don’t want it to be the last. It just goes to show how much we have all changed and improved within less than a year. We knew what we wanted and, we got it.

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.

Once in a Life Time Opportunity

(Craig Lamb – Trainee Resourcer at Bright Purple Resourcing)

In my short life, I have had the privilege of doing a lot of things others will never get the chance to do, and meeting Sir Tom Hunter is one of those things. The thought of being in the same room as a billionaire was absolutely mind blowing. Myself and few other Bright Purple colleagues travelled through to Ayrshire to meet the man himself, it was a two hour drive so I had time to rap my head round the idea that in a couple of hours’ time, I would be speaking to one of Scotland’s richest men.

After our long drive, we were then greeted by Sir Tom Hunter, he sat us down and offered us tea and coffee, at first I think it is fair to say me and my Bright Purple colleagues felt a bit intimidated and were lost for words, but after a few minutes the conversation started to flow. We firstly explained a little bit about the Bright Purple Futures Programme, and then we got the chance to ask our questions. Sir Tom told us about his dreams and ambitions as a youngster, and they were no different from mine. Just like me, he wanted the fast car and dream house. He told us about how he made his first fortune and what attributes you would need if you were to be as successful as him.

After we met Sir Tom Hunter, and we made our way back to Edinburgh, it all felt a bit surreal, not many people can say in their life, that they have met a billionaire. The thing that shocked me most about Tom was, that he was just like any other ordinary person, even though he was a billionaire, it didn’t change him as a person.

Sir Tom Hunter – a true inspiration

(Lewis O’Connor – Trainee Resourcer at Bright Purple Resourcing)

Throughout my time at Bright Purple as an apprentice I have been given the chance to meet and also work alongside exceptional people. I have taken a lot from meeting with the likes of Craig Paterson, Jennifer Cheyne and so many other inspirational entrepreneurs. I have since recently completed the programme and have been hard at work within the Corporate Contract Team. I never imagined being given the chance to meet with one of Scotland’s richest men.

Sir Tom Hunter is one of the most successful Scottish entrepreneurs ever. Yesterday myself along with Fellow apprentices Sarah and Craig set of with Marielle (Head of the Apprentice Programme) and Amanda (PR & Marketing) to make the two hour drive to meet with a billionaire. We arrived in style pulling up alongside Sir Tom Hunter’s Range Rover in our Bright Red Ford KA.

I had expectations of what the session with Sir Tom would be like and how I thought a multi-millionaire would interact with Apprentices. My thoughts and opinions were completely scrubbed as within 30 seconds Sir Tom had offered us all a warm welcome a brief background about himself and even a KitKat.

The Meeting with Sir Tom was by far the most interesting and inspirational conversations I have ever had. He spoke of his humble background and how he was able to transform his lifestyle and go on to achieve so much in such a short time. The thing that struck me the most was the fact he did not boast about how much money he had or how many fancy cars he had. Instead he spoke of the Hunter Foundation and the plans he had going forward in wanting to put his money back into helping people around the world.

Sir Tom Hunter spoke to each and every one of us as though we were just as valuable and exciting to meet as the likes of President Bill Clinton, Sir Richard Branson, Sir David Murray and so many other iconic people. I was blown away by his honesty and will to help others.

I came away from the meeting with even greater ambition and belief in both myself and what I can achieve. I am hugely thankful for the opportunity and cannot thank Sir Tom Hunter enough for his time and advice.

Bright Purple has continued to support me throughout my time and have helped me open so many doors. I have experience which rivals any of my friends and family and for that to I am hugely grateful and proud to be a part of the Bright Futures Apprentice Programme.

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.