(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.