My team will tell you that I’m not easy to impress. I’ve been around the block a few times so it takes a lot to genuinely leave me astonished. So it delighted me to surprise them recently with my reaction to the quality of the young people from the Hyndburn Academy who applied to our scholarship programme.
By way of a quick recap – I set up the programme by bringing together an organisation which personally means a huge amount to me and a local school. The Outward Bound, and an academy in Lancashire where the majority of young people come from low-income households. The Outward Bound Trust uses the great outdoors to help young people learn valuable life lessons. It also show them they’re capable of so more than they believe they are. You can read more about the background to the scholarship in this blog.
We received eighteen applications and we only had five places to allocate. Team TBG rolled our sleeves up and got stuck into shortlisting down to ten for interviews. We then ran the interviews at the business lounge at the Lloyds flagship Branch on Market Street in Manchester (big shout out to the team there for their support!)
The interviews were quite tricky though as we weren’t looking for your typical criteria – e.g. the strongest, the most confident, the best communicator – quite the opposite. I wanted to find the untapped potential (which is what TBG is all about) and that meant really getting to know those who were perhaps not that confident. We structured some questions around what they have done, their contributions to the school (or anything else) and how they think they would make use of their time with the Outward Bound.
If you want to find out more about the amazing work The Outward Bound trust do for young people, have a look here.
The Final Selection
I think what really impressed me was that so many of them are mentors. Even at just Year Nine (Year Three in old money to you an me) at age 13-14 they are mentoring those in Year Seven who are in their first year at secondary school. This can be a massive win/win for all as the Year Nines get training and then practice in using vital skills which will help them throughout their working lives, and the Year Sevens get a friendly arm around the shoulder – something I could have really done with at that age myself. I was genuinely delighted to hear this was in action!
So, after a lengthy (and lively) debrief, we chose our five (four girls and one boy) who will be going to the Outward Bound at Ullswater in July. I’m pleased to say that they have all agreed to do some vlogging before, during and after so stay tuned to find out how it works out for them!