Bright Purple have already shown how much they care about what is happening in their community and especially about the issue of youth, with the Bright Futures apprentice programme, but Nick Price our CEO, wanted some of us to experience working with young people not in the internal scheme and volunteered the firm to work as a ‘Partner in Business’ with the Career Academies UK. We were paired with Tynecastle High School and Diana Plesniak (HR) and I were chosen by Nick to act as mentors and to represent Bright Purple.
I was thrilled to have been given this opportunity although I was also a little apprehensive, as there were some very senior professionals mentoring from other companies and I was worried I wouldn’t match up to expectations. Diana and I were assured that as we were closer in age and also not too far up the career ladder, that it would be easier for the young people to relate to us.
I was paired with David McFarlane. He is 16 years old and is currently studying for his intermediate 2’s, and also one higher. I have met up with David 3 times so far – once a month since the beginning of the year and we have been getting on very well. During the first meeting, I wanted to form an idea about what David wanted to get out of the programme, what he hoped to learn from me, and what kind of things he would like help with, and this helped me plan our meetings. I also explained my role within the business.
Our second meeting saw David visit while our four new Lithuanian colleagues were in Edinburgh as they were over for the week receiving training and also meeting all the Scottish based Bright Purple People. They had been asked to prepare a presentation about their visit to Edinburgh and what they had learnt from our culture. I brought David along to this presentation to give him a feel of what it felt like to work at Bright Purple and also to learn more about the business.
He really enjoyed it! And he said he was delighted to have been given the opportunity, as he was able to learn about the business from the perspective of new employees and learnt things about recruitment which he hadn’t known before. Our CEO Nick Price even gave him a question to ask the girls, which although he said was daunting, he felt included and part of the team. I was really pleased with that, as he sat smiling amongst 40 experienced people and yet feeling involved. David also asked that I helped him to draft a CV, so I gave him some headings and asked him to fill these in for our next meeting. I also gave him a copy of my CV as an example, so he could have a look at the layout and also he would see examples of possible things to write.
For our third meeting I arranged for David to shadow Tracey Murray, a consultant here at Bright Purple. David had expressed interest in finding out more about the sales side of the business after attending the presentation on our second meeting. I sat down with Tracey and discussed questions that she could answer for David, and things she could show him and demonstrate for him to ensure he got a real flavour for her role within Bright Purple. He loved this and Tracey gave me great feedback on their time together. A few other consultants who sat by Tracey also commented that David was very clever and showed real interest, by asking some great questions throughout the shadowing.
I typed up the questions and answers I had discussed with Tracey, adding any extra information that was covered during the shadowing and gave this to David to take away so he could refer back to it. I also helped him fill in his application form for his summer internship which he is very excited about and not least because he gets paid for it as well as getting some real hands on experience in the workplace.
So far I have found the experience personally very rewarding. David is full of energy and very keen to learn and we are able to talk openly about how he is getting on at school with his exams, and studying, and about what he wants to learn from this opportunity. It feels good to know that I am helping to make a small difference to his experiences with the Career Academies UK and I love how much he has learnt from his experiences here so far.
Nick Price, CEO added to Megan’s views. “Bright Purple is honoured to continue its commitment to helping its community and especially when it comes to young people, the future of our economy. I think exposing both Megan and Diana to this project will also help them grow as individuals and hopefully we will be able to follow this up again, giving other Bright Purple People a chance. Megan has a great personality, always smiling and she’s got the banter, so I am sure David hasn’t had a quiet moment to himself! I have met David and I have to say, although he is only 16 years old, he himself has a great personality and a desire to learn, so I am sure he’ll do well in life. Good luck David from all at Bright Purple.”