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Giving Back

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Recently I was involved in hosting the inaugural Cumbria Dream Placement Alumni evening at the extremely impressive National Centre for Nuclear training facility in West Cumbria.

The Cumbria Future Leader’s Forum (CFLF) is an idea to allow young people who have been involved in a Dream Placement scheme in the past 5 years – whether they received a placement or not – to get together on a quarterly basis and grow their own network of support and CPD.

The first meeting included a tour around the Centre – including the state-of-the-art labs and virtual reality training suites, followed by envisioning workshop sessions.

Facilitating the sessions with the attendees after the tour was a fascinating way to get a handle on what they are looking for from their group.

Using a great system I had picked up from Mark Robb called the WOW model of Customer Experience, we asked:

-what should the basic outcome from your network be?

-what are the expectations from the network?

-what would make your network a ‘WOW”?

The basic and ‘regular’ expectations from the network were good.

Although it took a few minutes to encourage from the group of young people, when we go to the WOW section of the exercise, it was like a rocket going off : ideas were flying and I could hardly keep up.

The ideas included:

Advocacy (highlighting young-people’s employment and societal issues to politicians and the like)

Sharing Best Practice

Recognition of their skills and support for others


Highlighting young people in Cumbria’s keenness to learn and develop

A Knowledge Centre for collating and sharing experiences

Sharing the BIG VISION for Cumbria

Changing the Story (what the world sees in Cumbria)

Shaping the Future Vision for Cumbria.

The list went on until I’d practically run out of space on the flipchart and red ink in my marker!

Given a chance to exceed expectations and make changes, young people collectively develop ideas that will change society for the better and use innovative and outspoken ways to do so.

They went away full of enthusiasm and plans and we went away with a long to-do list to support their efforts.

As we were dispersing, I asked ‘why did you all come along tonight and give up your time?’

One of the alumni said “the Dream Placement changed my life in a massive way – I want to promote the scheme, the benefits and put something back for other young people”.

There was a collective and enthusiastic nodding of heads and we all went away smiling and looking forward to the next meeting.

What could you do to give something back?

Andrew ‘Bernie’ Bernard

Andrew ‘Bernie’ Bernard

Professional Speaker, MC, Educational Workshop Deliverer and Developer, Enterprise and Manufacturing Champion.

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