On Thursday 12th March, I and many other ThinkForward ambassadors had the privilege of attending a Thank You Event, held by ThinkForward at EY. The purpose of the event was to thank those who have donated time and money to ThinkForward, launch the Annual Review, reflect on the last 12 months and look forward to 2015. The event was held at the Ernest and Young building, where 150 guests attended!

Each ambassador had their own job role, from greeting guests at the front desk to asking guests questions for the newsletter. My role was to ask guests the following questions:

1. The ThinkForward logo is a light bulb, when did you have your first “light bulb” moment in your life about your career?

2. What should companies start/stop doing today to address Youth Employment?

3. Many people volunteer with a charity to “give back” but what have YOU gained from ThinkForward?

There were many responses; David Van Eugen (ThinkForward Consultant) said:

1. “I realised I wanted to make a change to the North East.”

2. “I stopped looking and realised that qualifications have a place but companies shouldn’t have too much emphasis on them when it comes to job roles. You can do a job without them. Companies also need to stop and think, and see if THEY’RE ready for young people; not if young people are ready for them.”

3. “I have gained opportunities, work and commitment. ThinkForward has also made me committed and passionate about social mobility and giving everyone the same.”

Barry Duffy (ThinkForward Consultant) said:

1. “I realised a year ago that I and everyone else doesn’t need to be afraid. Go for what YOU want!”

2. “Companies need to start celebrating the diversity of young people.”

3. “This is going to sound cheesy but I’ve seen a difference in myself, a side I didn’t believe I had, ThinkForward brings out the good in you, despite knowing you were capable in a little way.”

Shane Johnston (ThinkForward Ambassador) said:

1. ” Mine happened when I first joined ThinkForward.”

2. “There needs to be more apprenticeships.”

3. “ThinkForward has given me life experience that I will never forget and always will remember and use in the future.”

Jay Dobinson (LSE Apprentice) said:

1. “My first work experience was at Barclays, which I got through ThinkForward. It was for a week and my first office job; that’s when I realised the office life was the future for me.”

2. “The Company I worked for, also work with City Gateway. They hold market like trades where young people are taken on for work experiences and apprenticeships. More companies should do things like this to engage and get more young people in working.”

3. “A Job! A new perspective of life; at first I wanted to work in the military and never imagined I’d be working in a big office like I am now! ThinkForward showed me that jobs which involve posh suits, ANYONE can do it.”

The night was full of laughter and gratitude; many people were thanked for their support and close work with ThinkForward. The coaches also got a special mention from Louise (Progression Coach at Morpeth School) who said they are “the nicest and brightest people to kids”, and “24 more young people have gained employment through ThinkForward, so a big thank you to all the donors, coaches, staff and young people!”

Georgialeigh, a fellow ThinkForward student and apprentice at Bain Capital told me that she “learnt to adapt to different types of working environments and gain confidence” since she has been a part of ThinkForward.

By Amirah El-Bashary, ThinkForward ambassador.

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