Teenagers offered chance to make their lives their business
Teenagers are being offered the chance to join an exciting new scheme that could change their lives and teach them how to set up a business.
Organisers are recruiting young people for the second wave of the My Life is My Business scheme, and are inviting them to come along to one of two enrolment events held next week at Ewood Park on April 21st and 22nd.
The free scheme is open to anyone aged 16-19 who is not in education, employment or training in the Blackburn and Darwen area. They can either contact the organisers direct or be referred by a youth agency or charity. Posters will be appearing in various youth venues across Blackburn and Darwen this weekend.
During the eight month course, each participant will be given personal development training and support from locally based volunteer life coaches. In addition they’ll get expert advice on entrepreneurship from business mentors and inspirational speakers including Rod Aldridge, founder of the FTSE 100 company Capita, Claire Young (finalist on TV show The Apprentice), Andy Pickles (deputy chairman of the Music Factory Group) and Lee Blake who set up the 50fifty youth clothing brand.
They’ll gain hands on experience of working in a business and social enterprise environment, learn about money management and be encouraged to develop the core attributes of an entrepreneur: creativity, problem solving, team working, responsible risk-taking, passion and determination.
14 young people have already taken part in the first wave of the scheme, which started in February, and both participants and organisers say it has made a positive impact.
Chris Midgley, the scheme’s entrepreneurship coordinator, says: “We’ve been amazed by the response from the young people, many of whom were previously classified as ‘difficult to engage’ and unlikely to commit to anything. These same young people now turn up regularly for sessions brimming with ideas for new enterprise ventures.
“I think the MLIMB programme works because it engages young people with the exciting opportunity to create an enterprise while ensuring they have personal development training, support from local life coaches and business mentors to make this dream a reality.”
The first group have already set up social enterprises such as football tournaments for young people across the borough and a shopping service for older people. Participants challenged with turning a £10 investment into a money making idea have already made a profit, all of which is, of course, reinvested into the social enterprise.
An 18-year-old girl from the first group, said: 'I’ve always had trouble sticking at anything and felt my life wasn’t worth much. Since I’ve been on the MLIMB scheme I’ve found myself wanting to turn up to the sessions and I feel excited about the future. I’ve started to write an autobiography of my life and the troubles I’ve had. I hope that one day people will be able to learn from my life and my mistakes. It may be something I can turn into a business but in the meantime I’ve found the scheme really rewarding.”
It has also been well received by organisations who’ve referred young people and by local people who have been trained to act as Life Coaches.
“Your course is working very well as James has been as disaffected a young person as there’s ever been. I can feedback to others that there is a real sign of progress for him, which is obviously reflective of your programme. No doubt we’ll be referring to your scheme in the future,” said a Youth Justice Worker.
“To see the impact that had obviously occurred for them was superb… I am excited about the project and its journey,” said a MLIMB Life Coach from Blackburn College.
The scheme is funded by The Aldridge Foundation and Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council in partnership with Darwen Aldridge Community Academy and the charity Youth at Risk.
Young people are invited to find out more by coming along to one of the enrolment sessions at Ewood Park in the Clayton & Douglas Lounge, (Darwen end of ground) on either Wednesday 21st April, 11 am – 3.30pm or Thursday 22nd April, 11 am – 3.30 pm.
For more information contact the My Life is My Business team on tel: 01254 819 567.