At Rise we are truly lucky to be immersed within a community of experts. Each individual has their own talent, opinion and knowledge. We decided that instead of writing what we thought of the world and the industries we all work in, why don’t we ask them?

This has part of our series of Q&A style articles that we hope will inspire you, educate you, and or empower you. 

In aid of World Youth Skills Day on July 15th we caught up with Mike Ness the owner of MBN Arts to talk about the importance of Creative Learning and what skills kids need to learn in today’s world in order to progress.

 

RISE:  Tell me a bit about yourself and what you do at MBN Arts?

Mike: My background’s in Graphic design, but I’ve always loved the expressive nature of spray painting, so in 2015 I started MBN ARTS. I’ve been blessed to be able to work on a variety of briefs for a diverse range of clients.  I get to provide opportunities to up and coming new local artists and use my passion to support the artistic and emotional development of young people through our workshops. As well as this we do also provide corporate team building which offers companies something a bit different in that aspect.

We try and work within the community as much as we can, and offer opportunities for all that wish to be involved.

 

RISE:  So what made you start the company and want to teach kids these kind of skills?

Mike: Originally, I wanted to start this company to help support and provide an outlet for young (teenage) vulnerable males as I saw how receptive people were to the Urban Arts and Culture, more so than mainstream education.

The only struggle I’ve had with this is money, the people who might benefit the most from these workshops don’t necessarily come from the most affluent background so it’s been great to get these workshops out into the community and schools, and youth organisations, so that everyone can benefit from them.

 

RISE:  What kind of skills do you think kids learn through your workshops & why do you think they are important for their development?

Mike: We don’t necessarily focus on their artistic ability, not saying we don’t want to give them the best opportunity to learn art & design, but we see it as secondary.

I feel nowadays organisations are wanting children to tick certain boxes or have them achieving certain things by a certain time or else they have seen to have failed. We want to support kids to progress in their own way.

The beauty of what we do, especially with the spray painting, is teach receptive transferable skills. They may sound cliché but they really do build confidence, learn social skills, how to work as a team together on projects and how to analyse and reflect on what they have done.

I think it’s important to look at your own work and take criticism or give your point across, so we try to weave those skills into our workshops as in this type of environment they are less likely to jump back or become insular about it. We want to help them build resilience.                                                                                 

RISE: What do you think are important skills for our next generation to learn now?

Mike: I think the soft skills like what I touched upon are necessary.

The UK is very much achievement and progression focused. Maybe learning to remove the external pressure within yourself.  You can see we are under a lot nowadays, especially with the rise in mental health issues. But achievement isn’t always a qualification, sometimes achievement is someone simply turning up.

Giving yourself time to grow, prevent Burnout and be more productive by learning the skill to take a step back, enjoy, experiment, take risks and develop.

 

RISE: What skills do you wish you had been taught when you were a child?

Mike: It is important for us to remember that every kid has a different journey, we all have our own engines, some people are Ferrari’s- they can go really fast and have the control and it works for them, but some people have to plod along and go at their own pace , which is perfect for them, and that’s right. So that’s why we have to tailor these things for people. I’m not sure mainstream education necessarily does this.

I would have liked to be taught that it’s Ok to make mistakes sometimes, I think I would have taken more risks with my artwork and maybe at University.  But I have learnt from that. I’m still learning today!

There are definitely some things that I have had to “unlearn” that don’t align with me. But I guess it is different for everyone.

 

 

RISE: You have a very exciting exhibition coming up “Crossing the Drawbridge” at Highcliffe Castle starting on the 18th July!

Mike: Yes, they hold galleries throughout the year but they wanted to do something a bit different this year and they had seen my work within the community and the workshops I provide and really liked it. They have been great to work in partnership with.

I created the concept of “Historical Heritage meets Current Creatives”. It will show a complete mixture of work from graffiti, sculptures, graphic design and more.  We didn’t necessarily want to just show the stereotypical graffiti or street art, we wanted to showcase our styles that have been influenced by them.

People coming along will definitely see art they won’t have expected to see!

 

RISE: Is there anything else on the horizon at the moment?

Mike: I have just become an accredited provider by the Council, so now I can support a higher number of referred vulnerable young people, from different background and diversities for creative opportunities.

Also soon, I’ll be joining with an organisation to create a mixed medium Art form to offer a space that provides graffiti workshops, break-dancing and music tech classes. It’s all very exciting!

 

 “Crossing the Drawbridge” at Highcliffe Castle will be running from 18th July until the 28th August, and visitors will have the chance to meet the artists throughout the summer who will be working on various projects there. 

All photo’s are courtesy of the MBN Arts Website – www.mbnarts.co.uk

This month we have taken the opportunity to throw back to an article we posted exactly a year ago. It is as relevant, even more so now, as it was then,  as AI appears to be the “centrepiece” story in the media for Business right now.

 

Last year we interviewed Mrs. Angharad Holloway, head of Talbot Heath School about the importance of preparing for tomorrows jobs that are not yet here today and giving younger generations the skill-set required to deal with the technological changes in future industries.

“According to the World Economic Forum (January 2018) and the Future Of Jobs And Skills report, 65% of children today will end up in careers that do not exist yet”

Whether our ever growing technological advancements are something that fill you with excitement or dread. The big question is, are people ready? Do we have the tools and training in order to embrace AI and future technologies into our day to day lives in the workplace?

 

Do we even understand it or how it is going to affect our work or our chosen industry? 

 

AI and other advancing technologies can be a daunting idea for people of all generations!

With the retirement age extended and people working later into life, workforce’s can become a magical multi generational group where different skill-sets and attitudes can really help teams to cross-skill and even up-skill collaboratively.

Some may worry their job could be taken over by AI and others may simply wonder how they will adapt to using it. What does it look like to your business and how will you move forward in implementing it when necessary?

 

(Angela Piromalli — Founder and Owner of Rock and Angharad Holloway — Headteacher, Talbot Heath School —  from our article back in June 2018)

 

The importance of providing support and training and plenty of opportunities for your team to Up-skill and gain confidence in change is more necessary now than ever. Mrs Holloway highlighted this point last year that seems to be as relevant now as it was then.

 

“The ability to adapt and embrace change is critical. It could be approaching tasks in a different way, adopting a flexible mind-set and seeing challenges as an opportunity and not a threat. The future is not about learning for AI, bots and automation. It is about learning, confidence and communication.”

 

Our team recently attended Social Media training from our one and only Fleur in order to keep our Online presence flowing after she leaves to embark on the next exciting step in her journey.

At RISE we try to consistently train and regularly attend Networking events such as “Startup Grind”, “Women in Tech”, “Resilience Training” and “Wellness Wednesday” that has just launched at Barclays Eagle labs to constantly develop in order to keep Relevant and Knowledgeable in our industries.

Interestingly enough, with our Social Media training, we found that we struggled more with our Self Confidence in our ability rather than the actual process of posting on Social Media.

Using our “soft skills” we are able to support each other and help each other gain confidence in areas that we had no previous experience in, collaborating as a team to cross-skill rather than outsource.

 

To quote our previous article, Back in 1998, Papert said:

“The skills that you can learn when you’re at school will not be applicable. They will be obsolete by the time you get into the workplace and need them, except for one skill. The one really competitive skill is the skill of being able to learn. It is the skill of being able not to give the right answer to questions about what you were taught in school, but to make the right response to situations that are outside the scope of what you were taught in school.”

 

This idea was also highlighted previously by Mrs Holloway:

“We need to explore the importance of soft skills,” she highlighted. “We have a system where everyone is judged on tangible data and how people perform in an exam, under time pressure. Everything is linked to exam performance, which is narrow minded and aggressive.” 

 

The importance of Communication, Self Confidence and being able to learn from criticism are great ideals to teach our younger generations, as well as the Technical user side of learning, and are ultimately, necessary tools in helping us to move forward and “not get left behind” as things advance.

 

“The future is not about learning for AI, bots and automation. It is about learning, confidence and communication. Critiquing has to be standard within education. People need to be able to fail.”

 

So I guess the question now is, how do we obtain a balance between learning the Technological skills we need to move into the future whilst adopting the necessary “soft Skills” in order to progress together, as a Collaborative Community.

 

At Rise we are truly lucky to be immersed within a community of experts. Each individual has their own talent, opinion and knowledge. We decided that instead of writing what we thought of the world and the industries we all work in, why don’t we ask them?

This has part of our series of Q&A style articles that we hope will inspire you, educate you, and or empower you.

 

We had a chat with Mark Gracey who is a Data and Privacy Compliance Expert and spoke all things compliance, GDPR and the transition of working for yourself…

 

 

RISE: What is your name and your job title?

 

Mark: Hi, I’m Mark Gracey – I never know what to put as my job title as I run my own business, guess “owner”, but I tend to introduce myself as a data and privacy compliance expert, so maybe I need a job title that fits that…

 

RISE: What was it like jumping from being employed to working for yourself?

 

Mark: Generally I found the transition very easy, but once you get under the hood of running your own business you quickly realise its much more complicated than just delivering the service – you have to be the marketing manager, the accountant, the sales person and so on, but it’s very exciting knowing you’re in charge but some days quite daunting too. I love the fact that I call the shots – the success of the business depends on me and that’s very empowering. It’s hard work for sure, but I absolutely love it.

 

RISE: Since May last year do you think the world of compliance and GDPR has dramatically changed? Are we all WAY more accountable?

 

Mark: Data protection compliance in general hasn’t changed – we’ve had a comprehensive data protection law since the late 90s, but what the GDPR did when it came in last year, amongst other things, was to remind businesses that data protection compliance exists and is important for all businesses no matter what size or sector. It also raised awareness amongst data subjects (customers, employees, etc.) too, meaning they’ve been reminded that they have certain rights (and some new ones) and can challenge organisations about how their data is being processed.

 

As for accountability – well on the one hand we’ve always been accountable for our own compliance, but what the GDPR has done has raised the bar somewhat, with the new accountability principle which means it’s not just good enough that you think you’re compliant, you have to prove it too. It’s a big deal, particularly as we come round to the anniversary of GDPR enforcement – businesses have to prove they’re compliant now, next week, next month, next year… not just last May.

 

RISE: For those interested in getting into compliance, where would they start?

 

Mark: There’s a number of routes to compliance. There’s obviously the legal route, where you can study law and then specialise, but having a law degree isn’t a prerequisite. You’ll need an interest in law and be able to understand legal concepts and it will help in being able to translate complex laws in practical application.

My route into compliance came about 20 or so years ago. I’m a “techy” by nature (I have a Computer Science degree) and was working in the Network Operations Centre of a well known internet service provider and had the opportunity to move into the legal team and act as a “translator” between the legal team and the techies. That began my career in internet regulation, telecoms regulation, content liability and of course data protection (I became a data protection officer when the 1998 Act came into force). So I’m not a lawyer by trade, although I do have a Masters Degree in Computer and Communications Law.

 

RISE: Is there any advice you would give to businesses now we’re nearly a year on after GDPR has been enforced?

 

Mark: Make sure you’re still compliant. The GDPR requires you to review your compliance and so you shouldn’t think of GDPR compliance as just something you did back in May 2018. You’ll need to look at everything again, perhaps not in as much detail as you probably did last year but you need to (a) make sure your documentation, policies and employee training is up to date, etc. and (b) that your internal processes for dealing with day to day compliance still work (e.g. dealing with breaches, subject access requests and other individuals’ rights, etc.) You should also be keeping on eye on developments in the data protection and privacy as guidance and approaches to enforcement can change over time.

This is the focus for a new e-book I’ve produced which provides a framework for managing ongoing compliance or a 10 item checklist of things to check you’re still doing right.