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 Hayley O’Shea the Marketing Manager at Talbot Heath School, we picked up on a few things, about starting a career in a new industry and how the marketing world has changed in her eyes.

 

RISE: What is your name and your role?

Hayley: Hayley O’Shea, Marketing Manager of Talbot Heath School.

RISE: How has your role changed over the past five years? Has the marketing world changed?

Hayley: I’ve got busier! I’ve had to learn new skills to keep up with the digital trends in marketing. The marketing world has changed in the last 5 years but incrementally, the big changes happened 10 – 15 years ago when the internet took off and ‘traditional’ methods (although still worthy) were challenged.

RISE: Education can be a particularly challenging area to market in, what challenges have you faced in your role at Talbot?

Hayley: We are in a very fortunate and unusual position, with waiting lists in many years. The only tricky area is recruiting boarders from overseas, when you are looking at an international market – the rest of the UK is your competition – our budget is not big enough to keep up with all the the bigger boarding schools. Luckily we are a day school with boarding not solely a boarding school, so we don’t rely on it.

RISE: We want to inspire job seekers/those looking for something new that you can make your own path, can you explain a little bit about yours?

Hayley: You really can! If you work hard & are creative – people will notice and doors will open. My career started in graphic design at 16, I had no intention of working in education my career has evolved by being adaptable.

RISE: Looking to the future what does it hold for you?

Hayley: Who knows! The great thing about my role here at Talbot Heath is that I do so many different things in many areas, we could introduce something new & exciting next year and I will be working on that! I’d love my job so I think I will be here for the foreseeable.

RISE: If you were to give some advice to someone that wants to make the jump to a new career or carve their own what would you say?

Hayley: Do what you love, love what you do. That way positivity and enthusiasm comes easy! If you are going to work for someone else, make sure you believe in them and their company ethos.

 

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.

 

Josh Rhodes

Bournemouth University Student 

  

We asked Josh a few questions about moving on to full time employment after universities and the things that set graduates apart.

 

 

 

Rise: As a student coming to the end of your placement year, how are you now feeling about stepping into the world of work when you graduate?

 

Josh: Placement has been a fantastic opportunity for me because it opened my eyes to the student “bubble” of safety, and how when working in a full time job with real responsibilities and consequences there is a large amount of responsibility on your shoulders, and everything you do has an impact on the job and the industry you work in. Now that I’ve had a chance to push myself to my limits and really sink my teeth into challenging and diverse briefs, it’s given me a massive confidence boost to know that with some intuition and research there’s always a different perspective you can approach work in your career.

 

Rise: For those that haven’t had placement years, do you think trying to get a job after university is a growing battle?

 

Josh: I think the growing need for qualifications and experience as a base standard of work in many industries has made it very difficult to get a job straight out of university. Many companies offer entry level roles with a requirement of at least 3 – 4 years of industry experience, and this creates a difficult situation for a student fresh out of university that even with a sandwich year in their course would have 1 year of industry experience to their name. On the positive side, the rapid growth of the tech industry provides us with many options for specialisation, which can help give us a leg up in getting a job more tailored to individual skill even if we didn’t have a placement, especially in the marketing industry where Data and AI are so huge right now and in demand.

 

Rise: When speaking to employers have you found that they are more looking for people with experience over a degree?

 

Josh: ​I find it really depends on the employer, when I’ve been job-hunting on the more corporate side a degree is almost a “minimum requirement” like having A levels, but the level of experience is what sets you apart from the other candidates. On the other hand on agency side many agencies weren’t really preoccupied with what Degree I had or what grade I achieved it to, but more on my level of experience and portfolio of work. Generally it seems in the current job landscape the degree is more of a “right to participate” than any guarantee of a job or certification of skill.

 

Rise: Do you think part of the problem is that students don’t always take the opportunities that are on offer at university/college? Or do you think universities should be doing more to support students?

 

Josh: University is a very tricky balance to achieve for many people. Everyone comes to university with a different level of maturity both mentally and emotionally, and university is the place where you “find your feet” as an adult and learn to be independent and self-sufficient, I’ve seen friends learning to cook fantastic meals by second year and friends still having their parents deliver frozen meals weekly. University is definitely what you make of it, and there are a plethora of opportunities out there that if you get involved with can be a ton of fun and also great CV foundations.

For the student that gives his all to making the most of university, a million doors open for them and the sky is the limit, but it would be nice to see that the students that perhaps have had to spend more time learning their life skills and preparing themselves for the rest of adult life, would get a bit more support from the universities in tackling such a huge task.

 

Rise: Could the business communities local to universities be doing more to connect and collaborate with students?

 

Josh: ​I think that students are one of the most vastly untapped resources available to local businesses. Students are often desperate for experience, and I have seen many fantastically talented students going to waste because local businesses have had very little interaction to try and find students or engage with them to see what skill set they could offer. I also think that engaging students on this level could actually be massively beneficial in keeping highly talented potential employees in your business, as you may snag a fantastic student grad who may have otherwise applied for a larger or more high profile job elsewhere.

 

Rise: What skills in particular do you think equip you for the working world?

 

Josh: ​I really think that adaptability is one of the most useful skills you can take with you into a job role. The ability to assess each new project objectively and with a positive attitude is invaluable in ensuring whatever role you take on you can lend yourself well to doing it, and most employers find a graduate who can mould themselves to specific tasks is much better than one that can only specialise in a single area. The other core skill that is essential is communication. So many people are afraid to speak out when they feel a little out of their depth, or too shy to challenge a decision or thought process when made by management or upper levels, but businesses find huge value in clear communication, and with a good communication skill set you can find yourself working on some pretty high profile projects thanks to the level of trust built.

 

Rise: What are your plans post university?​

 

Josh: Right now the plans post uni are to try my best to find a graduate job that helps me work towards my long term goal of being the brand manager or community manager in the games industry, so right now the plan is to try and get some experience overseas as an intern to enjoy a bit of travelling while gaining experience at the same time.

Winning awards is not just about being in the moment, but providing the momentum for the future.

What happens after the cameraman has stopped taking photos and the occasion of a celebratory night outcomes to an end?

The Rock Star Awards return in Spring 2019 to celebrate young people who have reached out, succeeded on the path they are currently on and deserve to be recognised.

The awards have been in place since 2012. This means that the alumni of award winners grow every year. This now represents people who have taken the initiative on a personal and professional capacity and their own journeys taking them to new places and providing a framework for their own development.

We caught up with three former winners on how their lives changed after winning a Rock Star Award.

We spent some time with Nat Hawley, Kamron Arasteh and Molly Brown on where their lives are now and a chance to look back on when they won an award.

 

Nat’s Journey Afterwards

Nat is now based in London as the Partnership and Community Manager for Exceptional Individuals, which is the first employment partnership for neurodivergent people. He won the Inspirational Star of the Future in
2014 and his current position reflects that.

Nat’s progression has been significant, he explains, “I have a degree from Bournemouth University in Television Production. However, my calling was to use my life experience to support others. Having adversity in your life and overcoming it inspires you to empower and support others. I have Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and autism, and use this unique positive experience to make the world a more inclusive place, one person, one day at a time.”

“It was a huge step to move to the city from my familiar surroundings in Bournemouth. The recognition and championing from Rise gave me the encouragement to take my passion a step further and be a campaigner for others with learning differences on a global scale. I became a supervisor for The Princes Trust, training others from challenging backgrounds to become youth workers, I have taught people with disabilities in multiple countries and currently celebrating one year in my current role at Exceptional Individuals with the launch of my very own Academy for people with Dyslexia.”

Looking back on the award win in 2014, can Nat recall what it felt? Nat looks back as a sense of recognition. He says, “I had always been a spokesperson for charitable organisations. Winning a Rock Star Award was acknowledgement for me as an individual. It provided me with added credibility and the recognition allowed me to reach a bigger audience and dedicate myself to supporting even more people as my full time job.”

“I found that after the awards this presented the ‘foot in the door’ moment. It started a conversation with others. To have one person believe in you is an achievement but to have an entire county is empowerment for a life time.”

 

Kamron’s Progression

Kamron Arasteh was recognised as a Student Rock Star in 2013 whilst in his final year at Bournemouth University, studying IT. Kamron now works for Europe’s leading home improvement retailer, Kingfisher, as a programme manager.

Kamron started the process believing it was an internal award by the University. “I originally thought this was an award that had a focus on my faculty and run by the University. To be a winner means a lot. I can remember taking my mum to the awards evening and watching the nominee video from one of the other finalists who had created a fantastic piece of software and had completed their Masters. Degree. I thought, ‘there’s no way, I’m going to win this.’ It was great to be recognised.”

Since winning the student award, Kamron has progressed his IT career with a variety of roles within Kingfisher that began as part of the company graduate scheme. Kamron continues, “I started in an admin support role and that has quickly changed over the past few years. I have worked on a £250m project to replace all B&Q IT systems and some considerable European wide projects. My working week is between offices in Southampton and Yeovil. I am currently running six large projects for Screwfix in adapting their HR and finance function.”

Whilst Kamron’s professional development has seen a sharp rise, he still looks back to his Rock Star Award win as providing a foundation. “When many people come out of University, our CV’s are very sparse and many look the same as there is limited experience, let alone award accolades! Everyone needs a magnet to draw people to. Being a Rock Star Award winner did this.”

 

Molly’s Development

One of the most recent award winners Molly Brown saw her award win recognised on a much wider level within her company.

Molly won the Shooting Star of the Future award in 2017 and made her way to the stage on crutches whilst recovering from an injury. Molly said, “It was an amazing feeling to win the award. Whilst I would not consider myself someone with an academic background, to have this award makes you believe in yourself.”

Molly is now Team Manager at wealth management company, Old Mutual Wealth. “I started with a six-month contract as an administrator and then became team manager. Winning a Rock Star Award isn’t just about recognition on a personal level, but something to be celebrated with colleagues and those we love.”

“My company reveled in it with me. We all enjoyed it. When others recognise these types of achievements you understand the contribution you make. It gives you a sense of place within the companies that we are part of.”

 

Time To Conclude

Winning a Rock Star Award is more than being part of an occasion. It is a way to encourage a conversation, celebrate on a wider scale and to have that first sense of recognition beyond studies and early years of full-time employment.

Spending time with those who have won an award in previous years gives perspective to consider what a long way they have come from.

From campaigning to managing wider teams to having qualities of leadership and drive, represents the whole ethos of what the awards wanted to be when it started in 2012. The journeys continue for all of us.