Earlier this year I was invited by BBC Radio 5 Live Drivetime Show to mentor a young person who was unemployed, but who wished to start their own business. I was delighted to have the opportunity to share my experiences as a business owner and support Danielle Devlin of All Kinds of Murals as much as I could. Danielle and I have regularly weekly calls and she has achieved a goal that we set for her in March and obtained her first order to paint children’s wall murals for the local community centre. Danielle now has other orders coming in and the encouragement from the BBC Radio 5 Live programme airing each month, plus coverage in her local newspaper and the support of the Enterprise Allowance Club in her area have all contributed to Danielle not giving up. So many small businesses fail at the first hurdles and by regularly mentoring Danielle my view is that it has kept her self belief high in her abilities and what she can achieve.
There is a crisis in youth unemployment and more needs to be done before young people leave school. Courses at school in communications skills, coaching and self awareness programmes would give young people the confidence to take on new challenges. I would like to see a coaching and mentoring network and ‘positive thinking’ Saturday workshops for all young unemployed people in the UK to take advantage of. This could make a tremendous difference to their attitudes and create the desire to succeed. If Danielle had been struggling alone she may well have given up by now but now she is excited about the opportunities she has created.