How Youthquake shook up my whole world!

jamie-leigh at the good business festival

Meet Jamie-Leigh, an 18-year-old currently taking part in a traineeship work placement with The Regenda Group’s Marketing Team, as part of The Learning Foundry’s Youthquake programme. Read her insightful blog as she shares with us her thoughts, feeling and experience of her journey so far.

By Jamie-Leigh McGrady

I used to spend most of my time scrolling through my phone watching the world go by but since joining Youthquake, at The Learning Foundry, I’ve pitched a business plan at the ‘Dragon’s Den’, spoke on stage at the Good Business Festival and I will soon be travelling to London for media training. Here’s how my story began…  

My name is Jamie-Leigh and I joined Youthquake in February 2021 after my friend recommended that I get involved.  

Youthquake is a course for young people aged 16-24 who are not currently in education, employment or training and it teaches them English, maths and business skills. At the end of the 18-week programme you get industry recognised qualifications. Youthquake then help you get a traineeship, followed by an apprenticeship and soon you can start your chosen career fully equipped with the skills, experience and confidence you need.  

I have been given many amazing opportunities through Youthquake such as taking part in The Learning Foundry’s very own ‘Dragon’s Den’. This was a task which saw two groups of learners pitch their ideas on how to combat social problems in our community to a panel of influential business people.  

The panel included Simone Roche MBE, CEO of Northern Power Women, Steve Rotherham, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, and Garth Dallas, Head of Collaborations for the Good Business Festival. 

The business idea my group came up with was to tackle homelessness by using sleeping pods which would offer them safety and protection.  

Having impressed Garth Dallas so much at the Dragon’s Den event, me and my friend Charlotte were invited to speak on stage at the Good Business Festival, which took place on Wednesday 28th April at the ACC Liverpool Conference Centre. I felt very lucky to be involved because this was the first business conference to take place in Europe and I was part of it!  

When Charlotte and I got to the festival, it felt like normality had finally returned, there were groups of more than six people for a start! It was great to actually meet and greet these wonderful businesses with a big smile and talk to them openly. It was my first taste of networking and I’ve got stay, I’m quite the natural!  

On stage Garth Dallas was a great host, he helped keep me stay calm when I was feeling nervous and once the interview with him got going, I felt more relaxed and could feel my confidence growing.  

After talking on stage to around 400 people the celebrity treatment continued. I was interviewed by Radio City and Liverpool City Council on how we expected the day to go, how I felt about it being mask free and mainly just about my journey at The Learning Foundry on the Youthquake programme. It was so exciting being interviewed, I felt famous! 

We were lucky enough to meet Gary Millar, Deputy Lord Mayor of Liverpool, who spoke to me and the newest group of Youthquake learners. Gary has invited us to visit a local business with Japanese-style sleeping pods – exactly like the ones we would have used in our ‘Dragon’s Den’ business idea. So I’m really looking forward to seeing their pods, finding out how the business runs effectively and who knows, I might even get to sleep in one for the night? 

After the event we were approached by BBC broadcaster Tanya Beckett who offered us the amazing chance to go to London, tour the BBC studios and receive media training. I’m still so in shock about this, it’s a far cry from my little bedroom in Anfield!  

To round this blog up I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has given me, Charlotte and all the other Youthquake learners these amazing opportunities. We are so grateful for all the love and support you have given us. I’ve never been prouder of myself then I am today and that’s thanks to my amazing tutors at The Learning Foundry as well as The Good Business Festival for giving me this platform to grow as a person.  

I don’t know where my journey will end, but when my grandchildren look back on my photo album I can say “this is the year that I found myself.” 

If you would like to know more about Youthquake or any other apprenticeships, traineeships or business qualifications from The Learning Foundry please visit:

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