Archive for the ‘vInspired news & updates’ Category
Whether you want to lead a scout group, a community project or the country, a great leader needs key skills to get where they need to be. vInspired supports young people as they develop and shape their future as working adults so you’re ready to achieve your dreams from the get-go.
Here are eight things you can do to be a great leader.
1. Be a problem solver
Not every day is a perfect one. Problems come up all over the place. If you can be the one to solve them, you prove that you’re reliable. Being the glue that holds a great plan together is a mark of successful leadership.
Be the one to look ahead and identify where something may go wrong. If you flag a problem before it has a huge impact, you make yours and everyone else’s job easier.
2. Lead by example
No one listens to a hypocrite. If you are voicing opinions and dishing out instructions, you’ll be expected to reflect them. Practice what you preach so others have a reason to believe in what you say.
3. Consider others
A selfish leader will lose faithful colleagues, and if you’re constantly left to undertake projects by yourself it gets pretty lonely at the top.
Be ready to listen and take feedback on board. It will inspire bigger and better things as projects develop, spark new ideas and build the foundations of a solid team.
4. Encourage openness and creativity
People feel great when they have the space to get creative juices flowing. A leader who lets that happen will be regarded as a great person.
Being creative sparks ideas and is a great team-building exercise. If your colleagues can speak freely about their ideas and how they feel, they’re less likely to feel unloved. Allow everyone this freedom and watch ideas and good feelings flow!
5. Be positive
Even if something goes really wrong, getting moody about it doesn’t solve anything. Even worse, it discourages everyone around you.
Get your problem solving cap on in the face of a nightmare and be the ray of sunshine that keeps everyone motivated. If everyone’s happy, they’ll feel more like they can conquer the problem (and they’ll want to).
6. Think of the big picture
Keep planning ahead so that every decision you make leads to a grand plan. It’ll help stop aimless decisions being made and reduce problems along the way.
What you should end up with is a well-planned project that sticks around for a long time – meaning you have ages to enjoy your work.
7. Take responsibility
Have you heard the saying “With great power comes great responsibility”? It’s time to take it on board and put it into practice, because a great leader doesn’t play the blame game.
If you make a bad decision, accept that it wasn’t a great move. Let people know what you’ve learnt from it and what your next steps are. You’ll gain much more respect for righting the wrong and being upfront about mistakes.
8. Learn from the best
You’re going to need to demonstrate all these great skills to employers one day, and we’ve got just the thing you need. Team v recruitment is now open!
Being recognised as a Team v leader highlights that you can dedicate yourself to a project. That entails mature decision-making and teamwork, so you can add those transferable skills to the top of your CV.
The project experience speaks for itself. You’ll learn:
- Project management
Consider Team v the toolkit you need to show the world you’re a great leader. Apply now!
The RRP Leeds and RRP Rochdale stores will run by teams of volunteers aged 16-25, who have been given retail training and support by vInspired, in partnership with Retail Trust. Shopping trip anyone?
Tricks of the trade
Building and running a shop from scratch is an art. Our volunteers gained in-depth training from our favourite high street shops including JD Sports, Hotel Chocolat, Disney and Dixons. They even visited Swarovski’s flagship store in London’s Oxford Street.
Our RRP volunteers were mentored at Swarovski by an inspirational leader called Remi. He explained his journey from a pot washer in a small Kentish pub at the age of 16, all the way up to Store Manager in just 5 years. His story demonstrated how opportunities to make great things happen are out there for young people in the retail industry.
Here are the tips we learnt from the retail professionals.
1. Every detail counts
You need to have an edge on your competition. If you want customers to come back to you, you need to work on the little things that draw them to you. Attention to detail is key.
- Schedule tidy ups. Give the shop a once-over every hour, or at least get the place straightened up during quiet periods.
- Don’t get caught daydreaming or with a sad face. A welcoming smile can make all the difference to your customer’s experience.
- Notice a process in your shop that could be better? Be the one to improve it. If it helps other staff they’ll be happier, and that will rub off on customers.
2. Patience is key
Any retail employee knows that you’ll have bad days. Things can go wrong, and that’s ok if you’ve got the correct attitude and approach to deal with it.
If a customer complains to you, never get angry. It’s best to start with an apology and good old empathy. Talk through the problem even if you’ve heard the same thing a million times. Treat this like the first complaint you’ve heard. Work with a manager to reach a solution.
3. Go above and beyond
Your happiest customers are those who receive amazing customer service. Think about how you can make their visit as smooth as possible by being helpful.
- Don’t stock the product they need? Look up where else they could find it. Give them an address, telephone number and directions if possible.
- Think they might need some accessories or extra services to go with the product they’re buying? Show them what they could buy to enhance their item (without giving them the hard sell).
- Escort them to anything they want to find rather than just pointing, and make sure they know you’re on hand to help at all times.
4. Aim high
Always remember that if you work hard and show an interest in learning about retail outside of your role, it demonstrates enthusiasm to succeed.
Our RRP stores
The first Retail Ready People store opens in Rochdale on Saturday 11 May.
The Rochdale shop will be a creative and crafty space championed by local craftsman and designers. Rochdale visitors will be able to get hands-on with their purchase by customising clothes, bags and more. Meanwhile Leeds volunteers created a social shop space with free tea for all. They’ll showcase the work of local artists with handmade gifts, and will even be hosting events in-store.
Fancy a visit? Head down to Unit 1 of Wheatsheaf Shopping Centre, Rochdale this Saturday 11 May and Leeds City Centre on Saturday 18 May for launch day activities and giveaways.
The Educational Maintenance Allowance has been cut. One in five 16 to 24 year olds are unemployed. There are an average of 52 job applications for every graduate position, and recently 1700 people applied for eight positions at Costa in Nottingham.
Breaking the cycle
For many young people the thought of getting a job or going to uni, being able to move out of your parent’s house and starting your own life can seem like distant prospects. It’s easy to get stuck in the cycle of no experience = no job, no job = no experience; or no money = no chance to try out your own business ideas = no money.
Sometimes all that’s needed to break the cycle is a little help. A way to develop your skills, try out your ideas and demonstrate a real interest in something. That’s what vInspired cashpoint was set up for.
How will cashpoint help?
Running a vInspired cashpoint project means that you can choose something that interests you, or an idea you’ve always wanted to try, and pursue your own ambitions whilst doing something good for your community. You get to oversee an entire project, which means leading a team, building confidence and communication skills and managing your own budget. The impact on your CV can be remarkable, and it gives you a wealth of experience to draw on in job interviews and future endeavours.
What have other people done?
Some people use their cashpoint grants to develop business ideas and stretch their entrepreneurial muscles:
- Amandeep, 23, was awarded £500 to run her Creative Minds, Changing Lives project which got members of the community to develop their own product from scratch. They came up with an idea, designed it, created it and sold it (using the proceeds to help promote local charity work).
- Jivan, 16, is launching a website that brings together young people and work experience, internships and creative opportunities. It launched at an event packed with workshops, business and organisation stalls and information for young people.
- Cheryl, 23, is starting up her own youth newspaper for London boroughs which will support young people to write their own content and gain experience in media and journalism, whilst engaging with the issues that they and their peers are interested in.
So it might be a pretty difficult to time to be a young person, but that doesn’t mean that opportunities and support aren’t out there. It just means that you have to take chances and break new ground. Make sure that you get yourself the skills and experience you need to stand out from the crowd and succeed. As they say, necessity breeds ingenuity.
Move out the way Wireless Festival, step aside TED Talks – the free event of the summer has landed. Join in now for the chance to make a change in the world and win £100 iTunes vouchers.
What is vInspired Live?
vInspired Live is our charity’s next big thing. A time to celebrate the power of young people, bring that power to life before the eyes of the nation and change the world for the better. A night where you join a mass of celebrities to do something great.
Where and when?
vInspired Live takes place 3-6pm on Saturday 6 July 2013 at Camden Roundhouse, London.
Lots of you will be on summer break, and with enough time to get your friends signed up.
How do I get involved?
For the next month, we’re asking you to vote for or suggest a cause for us to support at vInspired Live. With over half of the UK’s young people opting to support causes and raise awareness via social media, we reckon this is the best way to make an impact.
You don’t need to take to the streets waving flags to get people to notice your campaign. Only one in ten young people think this is an effective way to raise awareness, and 28% of 16-21 year olds think the best place to take a stand is on social media.
It might be tackling poverty. It might be improving education. It might be rescuing animals, or it could be something we haven’t even heard of before.
We want to support a cause young people really care about, so you can carry on changing the world in your own way.
And what’s next?
Our superstar line up will be announced next month (we can’t resist a bit of suspense).
Those who select the most popular causes will have the honour of being teamed up with a celebrity mentor to help them promote their cause. The cause with the most votes will be the one supported at vInspired Live – it’s as simple as that.
From mid-May we’ll tell you how you can register for tickets to vInspired Live.
Spread the word
Keep an eye on our Do Something Facebook page , where we’ll be highlighting some wrongs that we can help right.
Change Something – phase one of vInspired Live – officially launches TODAY, so get as many people involved as you can.
What did we cover?
Our workshop covered the ins and outs of vInspired as a charity and the benefits of the vInspired Schools programme, which has now launched.
Curiosity was actively encouraged, so there were plenty of questions to answer about the scheme. After learning about how to get involved, we talked about the types of volunteering that students would like to get involved in to help their local communities and give their CVs and UCAS applications an extra edge at the same time.
By the end of the session some of the students had volunteered to be student ambassadors, agreeing to deliver training to younger students and promote the programme. Other students had great ideas for social action projects that they would like to run with the help of Cashpoint funding. Of course, we’ll be working with any Cashpoint applicants to help get their projects off the ground.
What volunteering are they doing already?
The Ursuline Academy already has an active volunteering programme for their students. We are currently working with the staff there to identify how the programme can support the whole school whilst identifying new opportunities, and to encourage students who may not have tried volunteering before to give it a go.
What did they think?
Ms Finlay, who will be overseeing the programme in The Ursuline Academy, said,
“The Ursuline Academy Ilford is excited to be working with Catrina and the vInspired schools programme. We hope that it will help us to support the great volunteering activities that already happen in school, as well as encouraging students who are new to volunteering to get involved. In the absence of formal work experience, volunteering provides a great opportunity for students to develop skills which will prepare them for the work or further education and which they can add to their CVs and personal statements.”
vInspired Schools aims to bring all the benefits of volunteering to students. We want you to realise your potential by learning the value of doing good things for yourselves and for others – what could be bad about that?
All signed up schools will receive a range of free, flexible tools to support them in the school environment. If you’d like to chat to us about getting your school signed up, contact the schools coordinators Catrina and Kayleigh.
We’re hard wired to gain pleasure from helping others succeed – not just from our own success.
Society has changed its opinion on what real “progress” is. On a worldwide scale, it’s been decided that progress should be measured by how happy society is, not just how rich and developed we have become. To launch and celebrate this concept, all 193 of the United Nations are coining March 20th as the International Day Of Happiness. The focus is to do something that will make someone else happy. We have a few ideas around how you can use vInspired to do just that…
Be a mentor
What could be more fulfilling than taking someone under your wing and sharing your knowledge with them to help them succeed?
There are tons of mentoring opportunities to be filled up and down the country. Got a flair for business and strategy? Help someone achieve their dream by guiding them towards a successful entrepreneurship.
On the other hand, if you’re a good listener and see yourself being able to provide someone with emotional support , volunteer to help others through rough times. It’s not an easy job, but being someone’s rock and solace not only helps them lead a happier life, but also helps those around them.
There are some mentoring schemes you can do online too – so you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own home.
Be a sports coach
Exercise and keeping fit not only helps build up those muscles and offer all those obvious health advantages, but it also makes you a happier person. Every time you exercise, your body releases endorphins which lift your mood and work wonders for your mindset. Why not help spread happiness this way by volunteering to teach sport?
Although we do have spaces for Skateboarding coaches, athletics coaches and a whole host of other active placements, the sports world requires more than just people who can put one foot in front of the other. Offer cheer-point support for marathon runners or even offer your services as an event photographer - the support that athletes get is just as important as the events themselves.
Contribute to your community
If you haven’t heard of the vInspired cashpoint scheme and have a problem you want to solve in your community, we can help.
Bring your project to life by applying for a grant of up to £500 to enhance the lives of those around you. Plus you’ll get to add project management skills to your CV. What’s not to like? Use this International Day Of Happiness to start something amazing that affects everybody in your community.
Have we persuaded you to join the happiness revolution? Be sure to shout about it on Cheers – the new social network to spread happiness!
At vInspired, we’re often asked why we think having a track record in volunteering is so important. After all, young people work hard, have access to education, and have the power to guide future generations. Why would they need to do anything extra?
The truth is that one of the hardest battles young people face today is the job market. No matter how much we’re told that we will come out of the recession unscathed, it’s the UK youth who are among the worst affected. Fighting for jobs is a gruelling process – so we’ve brought some good friends of ours along to talk about that.
Not Going To Uni are a hub for those who have decided against going to university, serving as the stopping place for help and advice on the next steps of their career. They’ve uncovered some shocking facts about our tough job market. Have you experienced something similar?
The government says there are plenty of jobs out there to be had. But the reality is, according to TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady, “there are far more people chasing those jobs.
“That’s why, rather than demonising unemployed people as scroungers, we need to get the economy growing and support them into work.”
Well, out of the 1,701 applicants for a job at a new branch of Costa Coffee, 1,693 still run the risk of being demonised as scroungers – and that’s scary.
Eight vacancies, 1,701 applicants. For jobs paying between £6.10 and £10.00 an hour.
- Graduates unable to find work after leaving uni
- Senior retail managers with over fifteen years’ experience
- Ex-employees from high street chains that have been forced to call in the administrators, like Clinton Cards, Comet, Jessops and HMV
- And, lastly, people who just needed a job.
What’s even more scary is the fact that those eight vacancies were listed on just one single website – oh, and a sign on the building while renovations were going on before the grand opening.
Midlands Manager for Costa, Sham Ramparia, says about the applicants: “Many had a background in retail and some of them were senior retail managers at the likes of Comet and HMV with about 10 to 15 years of experience. Many applicants were hugely over-qualified”.
Very scary indeed.
One of the lucky eight to be accepted was 25-year-old Steven Tomlinson, another victim of their employer going into administration. He’d been working at a smoothie and milkshake bar, and says: “I have always loved coffee, so I thought: why not go for it?”
Another successful applicant, Heather Davies, also 25, says: “I feel incredibly lucky to have been taken on. This is the perfect job for me.”
Very lucky indeed.
Sound scary? Give yourself the best possible chance of employment, in the hands of people who know you can build a future for yourself by building up the right skills. Check out vInspired’s volunteering opportunities, and volunteer your way to the top of the hiring pile.
We always do our best to spread positivity online from our base at vInspired HQ. Meanwhile, Team V have been out and about keeping minds healthy.
The new campaign Make Time For Your Mind focuses on the importance of mental wellbeing, and how to take positive steps to look after your mind.
Teams across the nation set out with their Mind Trees and blank apples to start talking to the public about what they do for their mind. People were invited to share their tips for happiness by writing on their apple and adding it to the tree until a whole bushel of goodness had been created.
Team V Leader Lauren Civill-Holt took to Cardiff University to collect mind apples from the students (in return for chocolate, naturally) of the Heath Park Campus. Here are the tips her team picked up from the Make Time For Your Mind campaign…
What 5 things do you do regularly to look after your mind?
We had a lot of common themes, including:
- Learning new things and getting out of the house to appreciate great things, such as nature
- Volunteering or looking after/helping others
Exercise was a popular mention because there are so many different types. Dancing, zumba classes, walking the dog, running, the gym and bike rides all came up. My personal favourite was thinking positively and appreciating what we have got!
What alternative ideas came up?
Not all of our apples have something generic written on them – some were more artistic, some soulful and some just downright strange. We came across:
- Eating fish
- Looking after pets
- TV quizzes
Many tips were motivational too. I liked “always give 100%, that way you always get more back (feel good factor!)”, “make plans to do things you enjoy so you have something to look forward to, this keeps you focused and gives you a break, dream, laugh and leave time in the day for FUN!” And last but not least, “brain training games on the DS! (such fun!)”.
Thanks to everyone that filled out an apple card – you’ve helped each other by sharing your ideas.
What five things do you do to keep your mind healthy?
Want the chance to recommend a friend to Retail Ready People and reap the benefits? Of course you do.
Our second round of RRP will be in Leeds and Rochdale, Greater Manchester and applications are now open.
Retail Ready People is a great way to volunteer, either on your own or with friends. As you will meet the whole team on the residential and work closely with other volunteers at your location, it’s a brilliant opportunity to get to know new people. It’s also perfectly suited to friends who want to take part together.
If you persuade a friend to sign up to RRP before the end of February, we’ll enter you into the draw for £40 worth of high street vouchers (donated by 3Mobile) and two runners up from each location will receive a copy of Dan Thompson’s book, Pop Up Business for Dummies and a vInspired hoodie.
You can refer as many friends as you like, and each application that states your name as the referrer will count as one entry into the prize draw. The more friends you refer, the more chance you have to win!
Remember you must have already applied to be eligible to refer a friend.
Just get your friend to apply to RRP and make sure they mention you!
Need a little more information? Come to our taster days!
If you’ve applied to Retail Ready People, or you are considering applying but aren’t sure yet, these are a great chance to come along and see what Retail Ready People is all about. We’ll be doing lots of hands-on activities and talking a bit about the programme and pop-up shops. Check out our event pages for more information and to RSVP:
Winners will be drawn on Friday 1st March and will be contacted by email. Please read our Terms and Conditions.
These incredible young people tell us what they’d do differently if they were prime minister.
We’re chuffed to announce the names of our 18 finalists across six categories for the 2013 vInspired National Awards. Below they share what they’d change as prime minister for the day. We’d give them the job tomorrow!
All Round Commitment to Volunteering
Ryan Jay “I would change youth unemployment and child poverty.”
Beth Carty “I would increase the amount of opportunities for children and teens, so that people would stop seeing them as disrespectful youths or hoodies and see them for the positive things they can achieve.”
Rebecca McGuinness “Volunteering would be introduced at a much earlier age in schools for children, so they have the opportunity to succeed and help themselves and their communities and live a better life.”
Amy May Knowles (pictured) “The prices for operations being decreased and make Cirencester Hospital bigger with more facilities.”
George Taylor “I would ensure that the after care is there for our troops.”
Yakoob Seedat “To pay the public sector workers and community sector more for their hard work.”
Bringing Communities Together
Matthew Chambers “I would let young people have a say in what matters.”
Jessica Purchase “I would bring Jennifer Mildenhall back to Wolves Community Trust.”
Eliza Rebeiro “I think restorative justice is hugely important. I would make people who went to prison for gang membership volunteer and mentor young people at risk of going to jail for similar offences.”
NCS Tredworth (pictured)
Sophie Hill from NCS Tredworth “I would make volunteering compulsory in the curriculum, as it not only helps the community but teaches you things you never knew about yourself.”
Sophie Saye from NCS Padgate “ I would introduce more activities that involve whole communities.”
Paige Chandler from NCS Portsmouth “ I would change how young people are viewed in society today.”
Outstanding Contribution by a Youth Worker
Linda Markey “I would change the education system to ensure that it is compulsory for all young people to spend a year volunteering abroad to gain the best education through being in the real world gaining real skills.”
Fiona Tomlinson “Reinstate the buzz and feel good factor of youth volunteering that we had 2008-2011 when vInspired was government funded.”
Daniel Fry “I would have more projects for gay minorities, and give schools the option of teaching same sex education.”
Georgia Taylor from YoungStars “I would try to provide more job opportunities for the young adults who are currently struggling to find a job.”
Joe Maguire from Shaw Thing “Everyone should get a day off, but in order to receive it they would have to volunteer for at least four hours – people like days off, communities like volunteers.”
Zoe Giles from Epsom Phab “ I would change the fact that there is a lack of facilities that exist for people of all abilities to interact on equal terms.”