Celebrating Think Big #Proud

As I’m sitting here, it’s dawned on me that today is the day I celebrate my one year anniversary working on O2 Think Big and what a year it’s been. I’ve worked with hundreds of young people to help come up with ideas for running projects, I’ve sailed from Southampton to the Isle of Wight and I’ve had a fantastic year.

One of the most exciting things that I’ve experienced though is the thrill of attending the Corporate Engagement Awards on the 28th October. We got suited and booted, dolled up and got our smiles on for the awards. We’ve got an incredible team of people working on Think Big from O2, the Telefónica Foundation, the National Youth Agency, UK Youth and so many more.  I was lucky enough to be invited with two other Think Big apprentices to attend the award ceremony alongside O2’s Mark Evans, CFO, Ian Cafferky, Head of Marketing Communications and Tracy Herald Head of Community.

Not only were they there to celebrate Think Big with us, they all offered really helpful career advice, development tips and also some spectacular insights for me to pass on to our Think Big Project Leaders on how to manage their budgets and how best to market their projects.

It was fantastic for the apprentices to be invited for the evening.  I have been to many consultations, meetings and celebrations about young people without any young people present. O2 want to provide the best for young people and they know it’s impossible to do so without consulting young people at every stage of the process, including in their staff team. If the previous generation is the flint of change, we young people are most certainly the spark.

Dozens of phenomenal organisations were present to receive their awards and the calibre of the work that was being celebrated was incredible.  The room was full of positivity, fun, excitement and pride. And it’s pride that I felt throughout the night, throughout the days following and throughout my entire year here so far. I’ve never been one to blow my own trumpet, so I’m going to blow everybody’s trumpet.

The work that we do across the board on Think Big, Think Big School and GoThinkBig is life changing for thousands of young people and it’s a huge honour to be working on these programmes with such an incredible collaborative team and even more of an honour to have been recognised at the Corporate Engagement Awards.

You may have heard (and if you haven’t, where have you been?) that we won a couple of awards. When I say a couple, I actually mean 8. We won three bronze awards, three silver awards, but most excitingly, two gold awards. One of these gold awards was for “Best Personal Contribution” and though I’d like to say that was for me, it was actually for Mr Ronan Dunne, the Chief Exec of O2. His contribution and unwavering support has been absolutely essential in the running and success of Think Big and we’re so proud to be working with him! We also won a silver award for Most Effective Long Term Programme for Think Big Youth. So yeah, we’ve pretty much hit the big time now!

My life mission, my sole purpose is to help people and to make our society and our local communities a better place by developing young people. From my days as a chef, a university drop out and a guitar salesman, I never thought I would be contributing in such a positive way towards society and there isn’t a better feeling in the world.

So, today I’m celebrating my one year of working on O2 Think Big. I’m also celebrating all the colleagues, partners, organisations and young people that I’ve had the opportunity to work with over the last 12 months. Proud doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel about working here. Here’s to many more years!