First Lithuanian Intern arrives at Bright Purple

Sėkmės Mokykla, http://www.schoolofsuccess.org/en the School of Success is an NGO based in Vilnius in Lithuania that specializes in non-formal education and aims to contribute in bringing up a society of successful, active and responsible youth in Lithuania.

– Simona laiconaite, School of Success Simona Laiconaitė, one of the team at School of Success explains that School of Success has been organizing educational events/trainings for senior students since 2007, regarding topics of social competences and personal development.

What inspires us? Our volunteers do not lack energy or in fact creativity and the teenagers that get involved do so with a passion to participate in every project, seminar, conference and training session.

In May 2012 School of Success organised a pilot project of student‘s (10-graders) to take part in an internship with local or international companies based in Lithuania. The idea for introducing work experience week to Lithuania came from Ben Harvey. Ben is originally from the UK where he worked in a senior position for Price Waterhouse and Ben has now been living in Lithuania for the past 15 years running his own business called Growing Talent, acting as a leadership coach to a variety of businesses.

The core element of the project is to provide ‘real-life’ work experience for a tenth-grader in a company, cultural organisation, NGO or governmental institution and according to the sphere of the interns interest‘s. The project is aimed to introduce students to the actual concept of work through the range of organizations from different operational sectors and to inspire and motivate them think about their future career’s while still being in the safety of the school environment.

The original pilot was a great success, because students could see the value of trying out a profession they were interested in and understanding whether their vision coincided with the reality on the day. Teachers were proud to see that their students came back to school much more motivated than they were before and companies claimed to have gotten fresh ideas and viewpoints that they’d never thought of before.

Therefore, School of Success didn’t waste any time in organizing a second batch of students’ ready to take on the challenges of the internship. It’s the School of Successes belief that the project will inspire and help young people to make the right decisions in choosing their future studies and making first career steps, understand what competences they lack to become good professionals able to add value to the companies they join and also how to improve themselves through their experiences.

This time the School of Success is happy to announce that students’ internship project goes international with the help of Bright Purple team in Vilnius and Edinburgh. On Monday 5th November, Egle and the Bright Purple team in Vilnius will welcome Skaiste, she is a 16 year old student at Vilnius Lyceum – http://www.licejus.lt/index.php/english,2 and Skaiste has a full week planned for her, working with both the Lithuanian team, as well as the team at head quarters in Scotland. Quite an experience for this young lady and one that School of Success hopes will inspire her to return to school full of new ideas and thinking.

For Bright Purple it’s a return to welcoming young people in to the company following the success of the Bright Futures Programme – https://brightfuturesprogramme.wordpress.com/ and you will be able to follow Skaiste’s week on the blog pages. Skaiste will also spend some time learning from one of Bright Purple’s hugely successful young apprentices, Sarah Dougal and we are certain the two girls will have a lot in common and work well together.

We hope this is the start of a long and fruitful relationship between the School of Success and Bright Purple for years to come.

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Spot Light on Scotland’s Youth Employment

(Craig Lamb – Trainee Resourcer at Bright Purple Resourcing Ltd)

On the 6th of September, Amanda Jeffery, Bright Purple’s Marketing and Communications Manager and I attended a major Youth Employment conference held in the Our Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh – http://youthemployment2012.holyrood.com/home

The conference brought together some of the big names of Scottish government and education, as well as young people to debate and workshop thinking around youth employment. Ms Angela Constance, Minister for Youth Employment for Scottish Government was one of the key speakers and it was only recently that Bright Purple welcomed Ms Constance and our First Minister, Alex Salmond to its HQ to meet the Bright Futures Apprentices, an event which saw our team show youth in a very positive light.

Back to me, well initially I thought I was taking part in a round table discussion with five other people, however, on our way to the event Amanda hit me with the big bomb shell!!! I was actually sitting in the main discussion panel, live on stage, in front of over 100 people who were attending the event.  At first I thought she was joking but I soon realised she was deadly serious and in just one hour’s’ time, I would be on the stage with no prepared speech.

On arrival we signed in and had an hour until show time. I was due on stage at 1:10pm, and as time passed and it got closer to my time, I became more nervous as it was the biggest crowd I have ever spoken in front of and I wasn’t sure what to expect and there was the added pressure of representing our Bright Purple brand correctly.

There were five other members on the panel, all around about the same age as me and, when I made my way to the stage and met the other members on the panel, I realised that they all had a script to read from! I was confident I didn’t need something to read from as I had plenty experience given to me by Bright Purple of speaking in front of small crowds, but I had never experienced speaking in front of a large crowd, so then I started to wish I had actually prepared a script.

We were all asked to discuss some of our experiences, hopes and ambitions for the future. I was 4th to speak, as the other members discussed a bit about themselves and experiences, I realised they weren’t very different from me. As it got closer and closer to my time, my heart started to beat faster and faster.

It was finally my turn.  Nervous but with a quiet confidence I took the stage and immediately captivated the audience with my charm and humour – OK so I am not shy, I’ll admit that. I discussed my dreams and ambitions as a child and then went on to discuss Bright Purple.  I covered how I heard about Bright Purple’s brand, their Bright Futures Programme, my life changing achievements and experiences gained within the first nine months and what I am now aiming to do moving forward and what I intend to achieve.

After the panel introductions we were then asked a series of questions by the audience. I was asked if I would ever be interested in setting up my own business and replied “it’s not something I would be interested in doing now, I want to gain more work experience, and then maybe in the future, it might be something I would consider”.

I was up on stage for just over an hour and it was a fantastic opportunity to hear about other people’s experiences, as well as the chance to make my first live presentation to a large audience.

What can I say, except Bright Purple has gifted me yet another opportunity and experience I would never have had if I hadn’t joined the Bright Futures programme.

Amanda Jeffery comments on the day

‘I have attended quite a few Youth Employment conferences, some with the other apprentices and some which the other apprentices have also had the opportunity to speak at.  What I find from these events is everyone is very interested to here from the ‘youth’, no matter how much research anyone does it’s always best to hear it from the source.  Craig conducted himself very well on the panel, he spoke clearly and professionally, he even managed a few jokes!  I have seen a big change in Craig over the past nine months, at the very start of the programme he wouldn’t have had the confidence to speak in front of over 100 people.  The various projects the apprentices were given has helped build their confidence and given them practice at speaking in front of people; presenting to entrepreneurs and business leaders, preparing and presenting lunch and learn sessions, presenting to their family and friends at their Apprentice Open Evening have all given them new experiences.  Well done Craig you did a great job!’

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.

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.