‘Do well by doing good’ that’s the InspirEngage message. It’s such a pleasure when we can work with young people to train them to do exactly that. This year marked the 4 year of our involvement and partnership with Mosaic and the National Enterprise Challenge. Once again, we brought all the finalists of the challenge together and delivered a tailored InspirEngage Social Enterprise Bootcamp – helping the 13-15 year-olds to develop their aspirations of future careers, deepen their life skills as well as learn how they can take their social enterprise ideas to the next level.

A quote from a teacher at the Bootcamp

Here’s the summary from the Mosaic article (see original source here)

Some of the finalists from May’s Grand Final of Mosaic’s Enterprise Challenge recently took part in an Enterprise Bootcamp run by businesswoman and trainer Melody Hossaini of InspirEngage.

Throughout the day, Melody built on the impressive skills that the young people had already demonstrated in the Enterprise Challenge competition and led workshops for them designed to hone and extend their business acumen and further raise their confidence. The feedback from the pupils at the end of the busy was very positive. Nathan Gage from Rivers Academy in Hounslow said: “I enjoyed today very much and I learnt a lot of valuable skills about communication in business.”

Kajal Parekh from Dixons Kings Academy in Yorkshire, said: “This was hugely beneficial for me, not just in terms of business but I’ve also learnt a lot of skills that will helpful in everyday life.”

Hamzah Khan, Head of Year 9 at Dixons Kings Academy, said: “Today’s Enterprise Bootcamp has been fantastic. Melody engaged the students in a really fun and interactive way whilst also helping them to understand some important business concepts and develop the skills needed to be a successful social entrepreneur. The students have had a great day and I’m sure it will give them the confidence and know-how to be able to achieve great things in business in the future.”

Jack, a student from Rivers Academy added: “Today has really helped in terms of bring able to use new skills in daily life. We have leant how to understand how people can notice how you feel based on how you act through body language.”

Abusafian from Dixons Kings added: “Today has helped with our confidence and has taught us what to do and what not to do when presenting. I have enjoyed looking at feedback and learning about evaluations.”

Mosaic’s West Midlands Regional Manager, Becky Mitchell said: “The Bootcamp was a really inspiring and interesting day where the students gain many skills that will not only aid them in the future careers but day to day lives as well. The students went on a journey throughout the day which was fascinating to watch and you could clearly see, in the space of a few hours, the confidence and learning that they had gained. An excellent day and thoroughly recommended! Thank you!”

——–

Further statements on how students and teachers found the Bootcamp:

“It’s been very interesting and very useful. In our lives we will be able to use what we have learnt, as well as in business.” Zulkarnain, Dixons Kings.

“Today had been a very interesting experience. We have leant new skills and will be able to develop our future careers. Introducing us to proma development will really help us in our futures.” Abdurrahim, Dixons Kings

“The InspirEngage Bootcamp was wonderful experience and opportunity for the students. A fun and exciting day that encouraged, not pushed, them out of their comfort zones with brilliant results.” – Winchester Wilmot, Business Teacher at Rivers Academy West London.

“I think that the InspirEngage workshop was very beneficial for me as I have learnt skills that I can use n everyday life as well business skills. For example communication and meeting new people and working with them.” – Kajal Parekh, Dixons Kings

“The InspirEngage  workshop was a great experience and I learnt lots of useful skills that will help me in the future” Ruqayyah, 15, Dixons Kings

“It was very ‘inspiring’ and ‘Engaging’, but there was nothing fishy but the sandwiches.” – Nathan Patel, Dixons Kings Academy

“I learned loads of communication skills that will help me in life” Jack Shircore, 14, Rivers Academy

‘I enjoyed today very much as I learnt valuable skills about communication and roles in a business’ Nathan Gage, Rivers Academy

“I have a had a great and positive experience, met new people and learnt more about business” Darren Clarke, Rivers Academy

 

Stats have shown that social enterprises are outperforming the mainstream business model (see full stats here). Watch this uncut interview with me at the National Social Enterprise Festival held at Greenwich University. Questions include what qualities young people need to go into social enterprise, what educational institutions can do to help and main lesson I have learned as a social entrepreneur.

Tweet: @Melody_Hossaini

Ever asked yourself what you really work for. I mean I know we all have to earn a living to afford a roof over our heads and food in our belly- but away from the bare necessity- what are you working for?

What if tomorrow, someone put enough money to cover necessary costs comfortably for the next 10 years. Would you sit at home on the couch watching daytime TV in peace and do things you enjoy? Or would you (after a couple of weeks of fun!) get out and get active and do some form of work anyway? In that case- ask yourself then, are you working for something other than money.

Too often, amidst the busy flow of life, we find ourselves on autopilot. We work because that’s what we’re told we have to do. That’s just what we do. But how often do we stop and ask ourselves what the driving factor actually is behind it.

I recently read that ‘Time is free but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back.” Time, truly is, our most valuable asset. For most people, work is the number one thing, occupying their time during their usual weeks. So what are we exchanging our most valuable asset for and is it worth it?

The answers to these questions are obviously different for different people. For example, someone who genuinely enjoys their work would look at this very differently to someone who is only doing something to earn enough to live. Personally, I did what I now do for a living, for free voluntarily for 10 years before making it a career by launching InspirEngage International in 2009. So the answer is, I would do it anyway. For social entrepreneurs, their driving factor is their cause.

In a recent TEDx talk ‘Social Enterprise Revolution’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95f8RV_YdKY, I speak about the danger of living on autopilot- the importance of doing things with purpose, as opposed to allowing the ‘flow’ to direct our actions. This is another way in which you can prevent this. What is your driving factor for work?

Tweet me your thoughts @Melody_Hossaini

 

Read recent blog:

‘My top 10 Tips for Securing Your First Job’ > http://www.melodyhossaini.com/2014/10/top-10-tips-for-firstjobs-dwp-campaign/

‘Speaking to Female Social Entrepreneurs’ (video of my speech at Govt launch of ‘Women in Enterprise’ > http://www.melodyhossaini.com/2014/10/video-melody-hossaini-speaking-to-aspiring-female-entrepreneurs/

There’s absolutely no hinderance for women to succeed, if they work hard and kick ass! Or is there…? I’m a 37 week-pregnant entrepreneur running InspirEngage International and for the first time, I am feeling the difference in men and women as I prepare to juggle motherhood and a busy career. Here’s my latest pregnancy blog.

On 7th January, we found out I was 2-3 weeks pregnant and it’s been a beautiful blur since, made up of baby nurseries, travel systems (yes that’s what a pram, car seat and whole thing is called!) and baby Ralph Lauren all-in-ones! I’m now 37 weeks pregnant with a little boy and due to give birth anytime in the next 3 weeks.

I’m also the Founder and CEO of social enterprise InspirEngage International- an organisation focused on developing skills of young people and vulnerable women in order for them to be successful by giving back. Have been working in this sector since the age of 13, taken InspirEngage into 100 countries in the world and supported thousands into work that also supports the community. It’s an important part of my life- not just a job. One could say InspirEngage is my baby.

So what happens when a real baby is about to enter the picture? Well, needless to say, the answer is different depending on the circumstances and choices of that particular parent and the needs of that particular baby. But that’s the key word- choices. You have to, as a female career-driven mother, make choices. The age old question of- ‘can women have it all’, I’ve always felt is, yes! However, with that, comes a level of sacrifice.

My pregnancy has been a pleasure and pretty hassle-free (not counting the unbearable itching in this last growth spurt!). This has meant that I’ve been able to balance pregnancy and work very well. Going into the office, travelling -even out of the country delivering a tour of InspirEngage programmes for students and teachers in Jordan, and managing a team have been doable. But that’s just the beginning- have been asking myself, what happens, when the baby arrives?

Well, firstly, I see this is a beautiful journey and feel extremely blessed- I can’t wait to see what’s in store! However, reality remains that there will probably be a lot to juggle. How long do you take off to dedicate to the baby? How long should you breastfeed and be available to the baby? Is it ok to want to get back to work? All questions women may ask themselves at this stage.

I tweeted about this earlier and @Michelle_BID responded: “that’s just the start of it, then nursery costs / juggling career and then school holidays all to come”. Yep that’s true- and it’s all a pleasure and what life is about, I am looking forward to it all- but it has impact. An impact which I think men feel a lot less- career wise. For the first time, I am really feeling the difference between men and women in business.

Having said that, women don’t have to let having babies be the end of their career- that’s not what I am saying at all and every mother is different! However, you do have to give birth, you may have to take time out and do things differently for a little while at least.

During my time of working and training incredible women as part of ‘Startup and Stilettos’, I have also seen inspirational stories of numerous women who reassessed what they wanted to do following having children and changed their career for the better- perhaps due to the added motivation gained by having their baby – many female entrepreneurs are born this way, in fact! They naturally find a way to balance their growing priorities better.

Startup and Stilettos ladies and I. 27 weeks pregnant

So what’s the role of men in this – I read the above to my husband and this is what he had to say: “The role of men is to be the pillar and rock. I’m already used to you being independent and career-driven, balanced with marriage, and this is just another step. The role of a man (or my role, at least) is to create a stable platform for you to pursue your ambitions.”

I’m just at the beginning of this journey- so much yet to experience and learn once the baby arrives and no idea what the answers to the above questions are, but know that it’s never been a better time to be a female entrepreneur, I know that it’s important to have a strong support network, I know that it’s vital to have a strong mindset. I look forward to the challenges and pleasures ahead!

Tweet me your thoughts- how did you find it? @Melody_Hossaini

 


In 2013, Harrow College became a national Pioneer of Social Enterprise Revolution- an InspirEngage programme and the UK’s first hands-on programme to embed social enterprise into the curriculum of schools, colleges and universities. By incorporating social enterprise into their curriculum, they took an innovative approach to pathways into work for students. Here’s the round-up!
 

The InspirEngage team put the students through the intense 8 Skills Bootcamps and Incubator throughout the academic year to develop core skills to launch their own social enterprise connected to the curriculum area. Make money and make a difference!

Student projects included,

  • Hair, Beauty and Love! > One group of students took the initiative to organise an event to offer their hair and beauty services to staff and visitors of Great Ormond Street Hospital. Fees from treatments offered were donated to the renowned children’s hospital
  • Bringing cultures together! > A group of female students felt passionately about celebrating and bridging the gap between various cultures in their community and planned a wonderful event with culture food and dance that students contributed to!
  • Be active- be healthy! > If young people have something to do and somewhere to go, they can get out their houses and be active and lead healthier lifestyles. This group of students organised outdoor games for young people in their area.

One student said, ‘I’ve found it very inspirational, because you’re doing something to help someone- which is a good thing for us teenagers – doing something good to help and give back to our community.’

As part of the programme students promote their social enterprise projects at the end of programme Showcase Day. On reflection one student said, ‘Social Enterprise Revolution has helped me develop my future. I know better what I might be doing and I’ve gained knowledge in business and my future is a bit clearer now, than it was a few months ago’.

After Showcase Day, students who have successfully completed the one year programme attend the Social Enterprise Revolution Graduation Day! After graduating, one student said, ‘Social Enterprise Revolution has helped me develop my employability skills, my leadership and management qualities and I am more confident about my future and I’ve got a better idea of how to start and run a business thanks to Social Enterprise Revolution – thank you’.

InspirEngage Mentors, Hannah Catmur and Seun Oshinaike who are successful young entrepreneurs gave up their time to support the students on their enterprise journey at one of the InspirEngage Bootcamps.

InspirEngage Founder and CEO, Melody Hossaini said at the “Amidst a time when there is so much pressure on educational institutions to think innovatively about pathways into work for students, I would like to congratulate Harrow College for adopting social enterprise within their curriculum. Over the course of the year, we have seen positive development in the students, and feel Social Enterprise Revolution finally offers the opportunity for formal education and creative social enterprise to collide.”

Benefits of Social Enterprise Revolution:

  • Allows students to develop their life skills
  • Make their learning real by connecting it to local community causes
  • Develop an enterprising mindset
  • Students make money & start potential work whilst still in education
  • Educational institutions become national Pioneers of Social Enterprise

For all enquiries email: info@inspirEngage.com

Tweet: @SocEnt_Rev / @InspirEngage

Earlier today, I read an instagram post from one of the entrepreneurs I follow (Manny Khoshbin) that stated: ‘What goes on on my head: A constant hustle, Gratitude and yes Disappointment that there is so much more I can do.”

It was the last sentiment that grabbed my attention. I found it a very honest reflection and one I can truly relate to. In the course of building a business, and experiencing a level of success, as well as feeling inspired and grateful, you also develop a ‘nagging friend’ who sits on your shoulder saying you could do so much more. There is a positive correlation between success and the volume of the ‘nagging voice’. This is because the more you achieve, the more you become aware that you have an ability to make things happen, and the more aware you are of this, the more you feel disappointed in yourself for not doing more.

This is something which you have to find a fine balance to and manage. But here’s the thing. Funnily enough it is exactly that mindset of a self-critical attitude which allows you to motivate yourself to achieve more, so accept that sense of ‘disappointment’- stop being too hard on yourself but at the same time be grateful that you have that feeling which is keeping you on track.

Keen to hear your thoughts- do you ever experience this feeling of disappointment that follows from a achievement? Do you find it’s productive and motivating? Tweet me your views @Melody_Hossaini.

For more on mindset and why ‘Personal Responsibility is Vital to Success’, read my previous blog.

Melody

Q: Are you Person A: Believes that the main reason for your successes and failures were due to external factors out of your control? OR Person B: Accredit your failures and successes to factors you controlled? It is 99% more likely that Person B is much more successful than Person A. Read on to understand why.

I always say that your perception is your reality. How you view something and your mindset relating to that, determines your outcome. You are in charge of your perception. This knowledge, scares some people- “whoah, not ready to accept that I can influence all that- surely not?!”

Those people, are not ready to exercise that level of personal power over their lives. However, whether they like it or not, they hold that power.

Heard anyone lately who was moaning that they are not achieving what they want in life? They would perhaps mention things like;

  • Economy
  • Background
  • Family
  • Education
  • The system
  • Geographical location

And there’s many more!….

Did you notice the common thread in that? They are all external factors. Reasons why they feel it’s out of their control. Some are so caught up in saying why things aren’t happening that even when you ask them what it is exactly that they want, they look taken back and shrug their shoulders saying they don’t  know!

On the contrary, ever noticed how someone successful speaks or someone with a high level of personal control and responsibility? They will attribute successes and failures to factors within their control. The difference is ownership. A sense of personal responsibility.

The point here is not to ignore people’s circumstances- but here’s the flash news: your circumstances do NOT define you. If you render control of what happens to external factors, it means you are not operating with the right mindset and exercising your power in creating the situation you want.

You become your own worst enemy. Your peaks come from something you did and something you said, and same with when things are not going well, they come from your own actions- even if they were a small level of external factors at play, take responsibility- this will help you solve it- instead of waiting for the system, the weather, the economy to change!

It’s much easier to sit back and blame the economy for why you can’t achieve something- but the only thing that does is that it lifts the responsibility off you to act. And when you do not feel responsible to act, you won’t fix it.

Change your mindset. Take personal responsibility and ownership and watch how your ‘luck’ changes. Don’t let your dreams be subject to probability.

My Tip: Take a blank piece of A4 paper and a marker and in capitals, write exactly what you want. Be specific and be bold. Once you’ve done that, ask yourself what you can do to make it happen. Turn the page and write a specific plan of action. Then put this paper up somewhere you will see it. A Harvard Study found that something is 80% more likely to happen if you just write it down. Not because it’s by magic, but because you decided what it is you exactly want. That’s often the most difficult thing. The next step is adopting the mindset that it is within YOUR control to make it happen. This power shouldn’t frighten you, but motivate you! Just think of the things you could do!

Let me know what you think by tweeting me as always: @Melody_Hossaini – Best wishes!

 

For all enquiries or to book Melody Hossaini as speaker, email: info@inspirEngage.com

How do we create 1 billion jobs for young people?

Melody Hossaini answers at the Youth Job Creation Summit. In a nutshell: Through Social Enterprise!

 

 

Youth unemployment crisis

The youth unemployment crisis is an issue that has been ongoing for a while. Whilst it is easy to say the youth unemployment crisis needs to be solved, the question is does it need to be solved? Problems need to be solved however the youth unemployment crisis is NOT a problem. Despite the figures, stats, and constant negative perception about this issue, there are lots of opportunities to be taken here. If the youth crisis is looked at with a positive view, this perception will have a domino effect that will be passed through to the younger generations.

If one was to suggest the Youth crisis was in fact a problem, one could say a huge solution is required. The economy and the business world required change anyway, regardless of the youth unemployment crisis. It was heading towards destruction and needed to be directed onto the right path. The youth unemployment crisis triggered change and change is what was needed to head back onto the right path. Radical changes can only come from huge problems as huge challenges. The business world can only get better so the youth unemployment crisis is NOT a problem and definitely should not be perceived as one.

How to create a billion jobs for young people- through social enterprise

To be very clear and practical, there are many ways this can be done. One clear way this can be done is through social enterprise. This idea has already been talked about in the past how if businesses are doing well and creating employment opportunities for the youth of today they can create jobs for themselves.  However a business that has the potential to improve communities is surely much better. InspirEngage is very passionate about this, a social enterprise themselves wanting to create further social enterprises and naturally social entrepreneurs.

3 driving factors that explain why the world is heading towards social enterprise

1)    The first factor that explains why social enterprises are becoming more popular is the world is moving away from competitive models into collaborative models. At one time, every business was competing with each other however increasingly there is a shift for people/groups/businesses to work together.  Women and young people are in tune with these collaborative models and that is why they are leading social enterprise. In the UK social enterprise is the number 1 job creator for young people. This is a great opportunity that has come out of the youth unemployment crisis. If it wasn’t for the young people seeking new exciting opportunities, social enterprise wouldn’t be on the boom it is currently on.

2) The second thing is the ‘Passion Phenomenon’ as it is described by InspireEngage. Previously, it is fair to say that people were generally embarrassed to say what they were passionate about. Now, everyone is talking proudly of what they are passionate about and additionally, how they can turn their passion into a career. If one’s passion is to help others, younger people or communities- this is social enterprise and when this kind of passion is turned into a career this is how social enterprise is trending.

3) When the chips are down, social enterprises are born! This is the final factor that explains why social enterprise is on the up; if everything was good in the business world previously, would the younger generations have been as keen and energetic to look for new opportunities? It takes a trigger like the ongoing youth unemployment crisis to arrive at exciting opportunities such as social enterprises. What’s on the other side is a better world. We were getting too greedy.

Solution-How to create the jobs?

To answer this question simply, EDUCATION. The idea of embedding social enterprise into the curriculum could create many, many jobs. It is embedded into the curriculum, not in the traditional way where it is taught in a lecture/seminar but across the curriculum in all subjects. Imagine 3 things, firstly young people developing life skills where it is encouraged within the curriculum. Confidence, interpersonal skills and teamwork are a few examples of the skills that young people should develop whilst at school. Previously, these kind of skills were not taught in schools and many establishments encourage younger generations to seek work experience, extra curricular activities to gain these skills. It was never in the curriculum before though.

Secondly, imagine a curriculum that allows you to develop a job whilst still at school/ college/uni and finally imagine if that job also benefits your community.

This would mean that not only are younger generations gaining an education that will allow them to pursue a career in there chosen field, they are also gaining the skills that will allow them to go out and get that career. This is what InspireEnagage have allowed with there brilliant, innovative programme called Social Enterprise Revolution. It has been launched nationally and no doubt will be a roaring success.

All that remains to be said is the revolution is happening, when are you going to join?

 

 

 

 

 

Passion. It’s one of those funny words, that if you google it naughty pictures come up! So the last thing you would do is associate it with your career right? Wrong. InspirEngage International has termed the change in the way we view careers and what drives us, as ‘The Passion Phenomenon’. Doing something you love and feel passionately about is now fast becoming the top factor in career satisfaction. And so it should be!

Social Enterprise is one of the most appealing ways in which you can make passion your career. Listen to my latest Vlog on why ‘The Passion Phenomenon’ should be something you’re very familiar with indeed!

 

Let us know what you think by tweeting @Melody_Hossaini / @inspirEngage and use hashtag: #PassionPhenomenon


Ballerina? World-leader? Cowboy? Inventor? What did you want to be when you were little? This blog explains why going back to your childhood dreams, could make your career more fulfilling today.

Remember when you used to say the sentence ‘When I grow up I want to be a…’ and it was so easy to commit to an ambitious dream. Not because it seemed unrealistic or so far away but because as children our thoughts are bolder and free of complexities that also create barriers. Those early dreams are more important than you think. Here’s why.

When I was 8 years old, I was obsessed with being a clothes designer (I couldn’t even spell the word ‘designer’!). I remember walking to my local library, sitting there for hours with old books about clothes and fashion through the centuries and sketch in my little sketch book until the library closed. That same local library became something I kept connecting to my ambitions. A couple of years later aged 10, I wanted to be a lawyer when I grew up. An inherent sense of wanting to make a difference through knowledge. A passion for social justice.

Aged 13, upon moving to England, I became a co-founder of a national democratic youth organisation working in the community (including with libraries!) to help improve the lives of children and young people. We lobbied, changed policies and even laws. Years later, I went to University and studied for a qualifying law degree. But upon graduating, I decided to ask Oxford Institute of Legal Practice (where I had a place to complete my LPC) to hold my place for the year, while I explored my passion in the sector I’d held since childhood. I never looked back.

I realised I was the child who needed to be out in the community, I was the child who couldn’t be bound by rigid lines- but a creative child who liked to innovate (drawing new designs), and fight for what’s right (lawyer). So I created a brand new thing. A social enterprise called InspirEngage International.

The dreams you held when you were a child, are some of the most daring dreams you’ll ever hold. It wasn’t because you wanted to hit your financial targets, it wasn’t because people forced you and you were caught in the flow of the system to be something, and it wasn’t out of fear, therefore settling. Those dreams reflected the purest part of you.

So what should you do now?

Research released by Foosle.

The point isn’t about going and pursuing whatever you wanted to be when you were 5! But sit down and reflect on why perhaps you were drawn to those things at that age- the notions behind it. When your mind allowed you to be daring and bold without limits- what did it choose? Then see whether you have incorporated those elements into your life in your career now… or are you 1 million miles away? Going back to my personal example, I feel that although I am not a clothes designer, nor a lawyer, I have incorporated the reasons I was drawn to them, into my career now.

According to research released today by job site Foosle, people don’t just measure job satisfaction against a salary. People want to enjoy the work every day (40%), have a feel-good factor (37%) and have passion for the role (34%). See picture.

So when it comes to entering a career you truly enjoy- think back to those things you enjoyed for the sake of enjoyment when you were young, and passions you held without reason and ask yourself whether there is room for this in your career now. Seems our childhood dreams- weren’t just dreams, but perhaps even a forecast of a side of us more reflective than our current reality.

And before you go- here’s something to make you chuckle!

This is a genuine picture drawn by a little girl depicting what she wants to be when she grows up! Followed by a very uncomfortable explanation by her mummy the next day!


Melody Hossaini. CEO, InspirEngage International.

We want to know what you wanted to be when you were little! Tweet us using #WhenIGrowUp @InspirEngage / @Melody_Hossaini

 

 

 

 

Sep 202013

A truly honest insight into the sector of (social) enterprise, life skills and careers- the future of innovative education. Why going with the flow is dangerous. Do what’s right, not easy. Why auto-pilot existences is our biggest threat. The changing face of professional development and whose responsibility is it exactly to get us to the ‘new world’? Hope you’re sitting down comfortably, with a coffee in hand!

Success & Personal responsibility

The deeper I get into personal development and professional development programmes, the more it confirms- there’s no easy access to success. There’s no such thing as a list of 1-10 to follow in order to be ‘successful’. Well, firstly it depends what you define as success, needless to say. The people I see, who are truly talented & whom I consider to be successful, are those who have taken years to build and to earn it.

I said on BBC ‘The Apprentice’ and I’ll say again; the best things in life aren’t free-they’re earned. Real question- are you ready to EARN what you want? Celebrity entrepreneurs or extremely successful people can seem like they have it all- but behind the fancy story are years and years of quiet grind.

As someone who designs training content / programmes and as an inspirational presenter- I’m always open with people: if you want it here and now, then let me tell you straight- it’s not going to happen! But if you’re ready to work hard for it & take responsibility- then it’s yours. Crucial thing here is RESPONSIBILITY. First thing I make clear when delivering the InspirEngage Bootcamps is; It’s not me responsibility to get you a job, not the Givernment’s & nor your school etc- it’s YOUR responsibility. Yes there are circumstances to be taken into account- of course- and yes we all share responsibility (that’s why I do what I do) however, having personal responsibility is a must. A vital component of success is having the mindset that you’re responsible, that if you don’t do it- no one will. If you don’t have that- you can’t succeed.

The true role of the sector

Recently I had to give a lot of thought to the role of ‪@inspirEngage – and I’m so clear; we do not do it for you- we don’t pretend for a minute that we can. It’s not life long skills if the person you’re training only feels they can do it when you’re in that particular room with that particular trainer. If you’re an organisation/ trainer who promises to give people the map, milestones and the vehicle to get there- then no wonder people are LOST when you’re not there. There are people out there who do this purely because it’s hot on the agenda- they come from a very different sector and are turned youth sector experts overnight. Considering how we work with individuals to support them to develop sustainable skills to succeed but with social responsibility is key.

The new world

Anyone in midst of all this, will know that the world is changing rapidly. The speed is shocking actually- in 10 years the world will be unrecognisable. In my personal view-it’ll actually change for the better with the current rapid growth of Social Enterprise. The business world was getting far too greedy anyway-needed a kick up the backside. In fact, I would go further to state that this colossal shift would only occur with something as substantial as recession & high youth-unemployment to push us to create new ways to address them. The other side of the tunnel will be much brighter- I can assure you.

And in order to truly make the most of this incredible change- we need operate long-term. Not just get people into jobs like sausage factories. It’ll take innovation, which we have in spades-but it’ll take more. It’ll take the courage to do what’s RIGHT-not what’s easy. ‪#SocialCapital

From here on- the road ahead

So now the question you’re asking- what’s right?….Well here’s where we all come in. Going back to social responsibility. My view? Life Skills, start young, connect skills to community. Make things real for people. Shake and FORCE people to ask questions- of themselves. To crystalise who they are- who they want to be. WHAT THEY WANT. One of the biggest threats to us is (& remember where you heard it first): AUTO-PILOT EXISTENCES. It’s dangerous to just go with the flow. If we are to innovate then we can’t go with the flow. In fact a flow means everyone follows which = sausage factory. I hate that.

It all sounds big- huge. But actually it’s simple. I’m speaking to 2 audiences here. 1) young people. And 2) my colleagues in this field. So to the young people:

Show up to things and say yes to experiences- capture what you learn about yourself from those experiences. Know yourself before deciding on a path. Shrugging your shoulders like you aren’t bothered, compared to kid next to you who shows up, asks questions and goes extra mile is the difference between success & failure.

Yes ,everyone is going on about business- but don’t fall for the hype. Business is amazing, but it’s not for EVERYONE. Neither is university or any other path for that matter. WHAT DO YOU WANT? Simple question- but often THE most difficult thing to answer. Achieving it isn’t the most difficult thing- but simply with your whole heart, knowing the answer, is. Work on that first before you find yourself ‘going with the flow’, because the ‘flow’ is an agenda, it’s where ‘funding’ is. Not always your future. And what people don’t realise is that the price we pay for back-tracking people will be much greater than getting it right, now.

Just to be clear again- I am passionate about self-job creation in business- especially through social enterprise, that’s what ‪@SocEnt_Rev is about. But more than that- fundamentally it’s about people developing a strong sense of identity and sense of responsibility to choose a path personally suited to them. That’s what the RIGHT thing to do is… which is harder than simply putting people through a treadmill (a weekend) of setting up a business!

Notes to my colleagues-let’s take this opportunity when the world is shifting,to create something that’ll set the foundation for the next 50 years. Let’s not fall into trap of replacing the university flow with another ‘sausage factory’ flow. Instead we need to allow people to develop skills to choose rightly and based on personal reasons.

The education sector is changing & recent work on ‪@SocEnt_Rev has truly reconfirmed that the hearts are in the right place there. But even they are caught between a rock & a hard place… but shining examples coming through as pioneers of innovative education with embedding Social Enterprise into the curriculum as part of Social Enterprise Revolution- which connects their skills to the community and develops pathways into work as part of the curriculum, but in a personal way.

Then there’s the role of businesses. More support is needed for life skills which they require in order to employ the right people. I welcome you to play a part in shaping it with us. I’ve never been a fan of pointing finger at Government to be honest- it’s a cop-out. I actually believe that we shape Government on the ground.

Either way- I’ve been on all sides of the fence in this conversation. As a 13 year-old child who co-founded a youth organisation as a war refugee- to working & shaping Government policy for communities- to now being a professional in designing programmes and training for educators and business. And what I’ve learned is that we have so much more power than we think we do. It’s just easier to pretend we don’t. I’m not one for easy routes. And big up my colleagues who are on this journey with me and ‪@inspirEngage. So much great work happening. That’s what we should build on. I look forward to the road ahead- join us in the revolution!

As always, keen to hear your thoughts! Tweet us: @Melody_Hossaini / @InspirEngage
Find out more about InspirEngage International programmes:
@SocEnt_Rev @PrimaryRev @StartupStiletto

E: melody@inspirEngage.com


As the Education Minister introduces his new plans to make students more employable, we argue why we disagree and where the true value of developing life skills of students to be employable, are.

Secondary pupils returning to school last week faced tougher requirements regarding English and Maths. In simple terms, those who fail to score a grade C or above in their GCSEs must continue to study the subjects to the age of 18. Education Secretary Michael Gove has introduced the new rule to make school leavers more employable.

As a skills trainer of life skills and youth engagement expert with 16 years experience of working with young people- I find this infuriating. Let me start off by saying, yes, I absolutely agree that more needs to be done to develop young people’s employability skills and yes, as a part of that, there needs to, almost always, include an adequate level of English and Maths. No one can argue with that.

But here’s my problem with this new policy. At InspirEngage International, our foundation of belief when delivering the skills Bootcamps to young people, is this: The InspirEngage EthosThere shouldn’t be any one measure of success. Yes, every child needs to do the basics and what’s compulsory, however, not every child or young person is in their element in academia. And to subject them to something which they may feel weaker in and not enjoy, can have more damaging effect than good.

Besides, what is the real meaning of employability skills? I recently spoke to a senior at Ernst & Young who interviews applicants regularly. He tells me; ‘If an applicant sits in front of me, and has nothing interesting to say, doesn’t show charisma, then I won’t employ them. Regardless of their academic achievements’. THAT’s employability skills.

When we deliver the InspirEngage Career Clinics, Life Skills Bootcamps or Startup and Stilettos for girls to develop their confidence- the key objective is to support the individuals to discover who they are and where their strengths and passion lies (through ‘My Passport©’) and then develop pathways into work based on this, in a way that’s personal to them. Life skills are key- knowing how to carry yourself, introduce yourself, feel comfortable and familiar with your USP and where your limits lie. Knowing how to engage with different kinds of people, the process to achieve a task, being able to positively influence people- THESE are life skills which make you EMPLOYABLE.

This week, we’re launching Social Enterprise Revolution (@SocEnt_Rev). Imagine a curriculum that:
1) Developed Life Skills of students
2) Allowed you to use those skills to create a job for yourself
3) Which also helped your local community.

Social Enterprise Revolution is a 1 year programme aimed at schools, colleges and Universities (with a strand off that called Primary Revolution @PrimaryRev, for primary schools) which does exactly that. We’re also aware of several other fantastic programmes that support students to succeed, in a way to achieve the true objective.

The policy to effectively force students to continue a path which may actually just break down their confidence and perhaps act as a blockage to a much more suited path, will have an adverse effect on those students, and frankly in my opinion, it’s an easy short-cut. At the same time, students do need to have those basic skills- we propose that the solution be a 2 line-approach with academia and life skills working hand in hand, making the formal curriculum better connected to the real world, allowing students to use and apply their skills.

Tweet us your thoughts @InspirEngage / @Melody_Hossaini and email: info@inspirEngage.com for all enquiries relating to programmes mentioned and to join to the Revolution!

 

 

As we approach Exam Results, I’m exploring the damaging impact of negative terminalogy and headlines on young people. Much more than a couple of imperfect grades. In many ways, it’s the best time to think innovatively about your career- why are we not highlighing that?

Imagine if you were a young person, nervous about receiving your exam grades, wondering what steps to take next and all you read are headlines such as; “Poor exam grades crush young people’s ambition” and “thousands will struggle to compete, leaving them hopeless and jobless.” (BBC News, 13 August- pictured). And thanks to social media, you could see the same headline 20 times a day, which really becomes engrained in your mind.

Would it motivate you and organisations who work with young people to feel inspired to act? Or would it just further confirm a fear and play a part in creating a gloomy reality for many? I can’t help but to think it’s the latter unfortunately.

I tweeted on Monday, on International Youth Day, saying; ‘Let’s be VERY careful about terminology we use to describe young people. Keep hearing ‘L*ST GENER***ON’. Does damage & adhere to label.’ We’re going through a change in the economy and the business world is being turned on its head- and it’s young people who are leading the way with Social Enterprise, so why are they lost? Would it be, perhaps, that we keep drumming into their heads that they are?

We play a part in creating a reality for young people- and with that comes a responsibility. Of course exam results affect young people (I, myself cried my eyes out as I didn’t get the grades I wanted at A-level), but it’s up to us to highlight different options instead of emphasising the doom! Young people have more options than ever for their career path- more accessible apprenticeships, enterprise, social enterprise and start-up funding options and much more!

Having said that, it has to be the right choice for that individual. I read this week that, 1.8m Brits plan to start their own ‪‎business‬ in the next 5 years (source, Rea Business). This is only good if that’s what they actually want to do as opposed to it being ‘sexy’ at the moment. University was an auto-pilot path for young people. Let’s not make business the new path fit for ‘everyone’! It’s not! It’s an option. Young people should choose what’s right for them.

With millions of students across the country receiving their exam results this week, I find myself considering the messages we’re giving young people and what they should be thinking when it comes to making career choices. Our role should be to emphasise the opportunities and role-models who have succeeded despite what some consider ‘failures’ and support young people to develop their sense of personal identity in order to make a very informed decision about the right career path for them.

I also feel the parents play an important role in this. You want the best for your children, but have faith- allow them to explore, to fall and follow their passion. You CAN make it a career!

The most important thing we can rob young people of is not an A grade, but a healthy and positive mindset. That’s much harder to fix.

Good luck to everyone getting their results- whatever it states on the piece of paper, you have options and lots of time to make it happen! Tweet us @InspirEngage or myself on @Melody_Hossaini and let us know how you did and what you plan to do!

Melody Hossaini.

Founder and CEO, InspirEngage International