Level 1 Hairdressing learner, Debbie Walters, has joined Big Ideas Walesâ€™ team of Youth Entrepreneurship Agents to become a spokesperson for those who dream of being their own boss.
Big Ideas Wales is on a mission to recruit a volunteer team of Youth Entrepreneurship Agents to represent the â€˜youth voice of entrepreneurship in Walesâ€™. Thatâ€™s a goal shared by Coleg y Cymoeddâ€™s Futures@Cymoedd Team, which operates the Enterprise and Employability Hub, a â€˜one-stop-shopâ€™ for mentoring, guidance, training, and an internal network of learners across the four campuses.
Though sheâ€™d not previously considered starting her own business, after learning about the programme Debbie applied and was enlisted as Youth Entrepreneurship Agent. Wasting no time, she quickly found herself taking part in group discussions exploring the views of aspiring young entrepreneurs across Wales. Â
Debbie said: â€œI applied to become a Youth Entrepreneurship Agent as I wanted to do something new that was different from my course in Hairdressing. After finding out about the role on the Enterprise and Employability Hub and reading more about it, it sounded like a great opportunity for me to get out of my comfort zone and grow my confidence.
â€œLesley from the Futures Team was more than happy to support me in my application and encouraged me throughout the process despite my nerves.â€
As a Youth Entrepreneurship Agent, participants like Debbie benefit from gaining valuable work experience, joining a network of like-minded individuals across Wales, and access to exclusive masterclasses delivered by leading experts and entrepreneurs. Through a series of discussions, participants aged 16 – 25 across Wales contribute to informing and influencing decisions for the future of youth entrepreneurship.
Debbie added: â€œThe discussions allowed me to share my views with new people, discover youth entrepreneurship role models, and meet special guests who are doing amazing things in their industry.
â€œI felt really nervous at first, Iâ€™d never been a part of a role like this before, but came away from the first meeting excited and ready for more. It was such a great feeling being able to be a part of a team of people working to help young people achieve their dreams. Iâ€™ve since considered starting my own business in the future which is something that I never once thought of before.â€
The youth entrepreneurship service Big Ideas Wales is part of Business Wales and part funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government. The service is aimed at anyone between the age of 5 and 25 who wants to develop a business idea. From bootcamps to workshops, young people considering entrepreneurship are provided with valuable advice and resources on how to kick-start their own business.
Working closely with Big Ideas Wales, Coleg y Cymoeddâ€™s Futures@Cymoedd Team ensures that learners who are considering self-employment have access to resources to bolster their business goals. The Futures@Cymoedd Team also work to open up opportunities for learners looking to explore career options and develop their business and personal aspirations.
Coleg y Cymoeddâ€™s Enterprise, Skills and Employability Manager, Lesley Cottrell said: â€œMyself and the Futures team aim to provide learners across the college with the support they need to develop their personal skills and confidence. Through opportunities like Big Ideas Walesâ€™ Youth Entrepreneurship Agent volunteer initiative, learners like Debbie are able to benefit from new experiences that can boost their personal and career development.
â€œI am so proud of Debbie for taking that initiative to apply as a Youth Entrepreneurship Agent and stepping out of her of comfort zone to be a part of such an exciting opportunity. We will continue to support her in her career and personal journey, and look forward to seeing her confidence grow even further.â€