The best business advice, opinion, news and expertise in Greater Manchester and further afield.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Friday Guest Blog: Inspiring a Generation

By James Clarke of The Apprentice Academy

Young people are our future and yet for many young people leaving education and looking to enter careers, it can’t be very inspiring at the moment.  Personally I am an optimist, however when you switch on the news there is the constant talk of youth unemployment, as well as the umbrella of social issues which have been linked to young people.

I believe young people have so much potential – they just need nurturing. Yes, young people aren’t perfect but who is?  I very much agree it is important young people take ownership for their future, however I also believe that they need inspiring and that is the job of the people who will need them in the future e.g. employers.   If we want them to be motivated, then first they need to know what ‘success’ looks like in the world of work not just reality TV actors and pop stars.   If we can inspire young people, then there is a much higher chance of them having aspirations. Have a look at Aspiration on Wikipedia – it relates to Hope and Ambition.

I was lucky enough to be part of a 5 day trip out to California to visit 12 amazing organisations including LinkedIn, Google and Salesforce. We even got to go to Stanford and Berkley Universities which was truly inspiring. The lecturers were like Brian Cox on steroids (and I actually think Brian Cox is brilliant).   So how does this relate to young people in the UK? Well, before I went out to the US, I always wanted to do well, however there was a missing ingredient which was seeing it in real life. I’d read lots about successful businesses and watched hours of Steve Job videos posted on U Tube but had never actually been in a world class environment. It’s true that we do have work experience in this country but if I was honest for the vast majority it isn't high end - the type that is inspiring and ignites a spark to achieve success.  I also know the type of work experience which adds value is time intensive for employers. It got me thinking, what about taking the concept of my trip to the US – I only spent 2 hours with each company but it was enough just to see it in real life.  Going to the US might be a stretch (for the moment!!) however there are some truly brilliant places in Manchester ranging from highly innovative SME’s, to world class Blue Chips, through to UK leading public sector organisations and charities. There is so much talent out there to inspire these young people.

It is so important that each young person gets to see the real world of work – if they do, then maybe they might have that extra motivation to work hard at school and do well in their GCSEs.  The thing is, for business to succeed it needs fresh talent and these young people are our future, not just a problem for the government or someone else. If you are interested in being part of inspiring a generation, please contact Jim Clarke, MD at the Apprentice Academy on 0161 200 1673 or email   This project is part of a social enterprise we have set up called One Mile Project which is about linking young people with the businesses that are within walking distance from where they live.

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