Why I Love Working With Young People

Claire’s face is almost as familiar to viewers of The Apprentice as a member of one’s own family.

Earlier this year we chatted to Claire about her experiences on The Apprentice, her business ventures and her stunning new look

Claire works extensively with young people so who better to head up our Youth Enterprise Edition of the3rdi Magazine.

Business Editor Phil Birch spoke to Claire and asked her why she loves working with young people, her new Girls Out Loud programme and talks about her views of young people.

1. Why does working with youth and the young inspire you personally?
Working with young people is almost comparable to starting a business – you see the potential in something and want it to grow. Young people are often underestimated and I think they’re capable of so much – raw talent, energy and fresh thinking. They’re normally also whiz kids with IT and new technologies, a 13 year old taught me how to use twitter! I feel the older generation has a moral responsibility to younger students, they are our future and we need to invest.

2. Do you work with both sexes and if so, are there any differences in approach, interaction and feedback?
I work in all different types of schools; mixed gender, single sex, special educational learning needs and I treat them all the same. You do see different dynamics with single sex groups – boys can be quite rowdy and boisterous, girls can be more self-conscious presenting – worried about image! Being a young woman and hopefully not ‘over the hill’ I can relate to young girls well, thus passionate about www.girlsoutloud.org.uk

3. Girls are often cited as being more ‘developed‘ at a younger age and gain slightly better exam results than boys- do you see this in your work with them?
Yes in the last 18 months I have seen a real shift amongst some of the female students I encounter – they are so grown up! They are heavily influenced by celebrity magazines and role models such as Katie Price and Cheryl Cole. Body image and style is top of their agenda. More students seem to drink heavily, smoke and having a boyfriend is the ‘must have‘ accessory. Social networking sites like Facebook are a huge part of their life. On the other hand girls seem to be switched onto success, very driven and want to be independent (to have money for a nice lifestyle!)

4. Do you continue contact with them after the workshops/courses? Do you mentor?
After girls attend the Girls Out Loud Discovery Day we return to their school with their pledge letters, to re-engage and track progress. We are launching a national mentoring scheme called Big Sister.

5. Is there a satisfactory Government support structure in place for young entrepreneurs?
No. There are a number of schemes and projects being discussed but nothing concentre. The future of Business Link is being questioned post budget. As a new start up business support is critical. The Government needs to encourage SMEs as the growth of small business will help us recover out of the recession.

6. How important are exams/qualifications (in the youth) in developing successful youth enterprise activities?
Qualifications are the bread and butter of our society but good ‘real life‘ skills are just as or maybe more so important. Being proactive, good with people, organised, efficient, good attitude are what people are looking for. You can all have the entrepreneurial skill in the world but without the right drive, passion and hunger you won’t succeed.

7. Are there any frustrations in dealing with ‘youth‘?
Dealing with school politics, slow process and lacking of funding is frustrating. There are no problems with the students!

8. Can/should more schemes like ‘The Apprentice‘ be implemented by businesses or are they too individually focussed?
I think the country needs to focus on real life apprenticeships – they are on the best schemes for young people to gain a skill, real life experience and achieve a qualification. There are nearly 200 different apprenticeships available now so something for everyone. Businesses get motivated and driven staff – everyone needs that!

9. Would you recommend getting involved to other business people? How and where should they start?
Yes 100% and contact me Claire@claireyoung.co.uk

10. What developments do you have in your future work with youth enterprise?
I’m currently working on so many exciting projects across the country, I feel our younger generation has a strong entrepreneurial spirit – programmes like The Apprentice and Dragon’s Den encourage this. I’m working with the new Government on enterprise delivery. Watch this space!

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