When I visited the Ashford International Hotel yesterday for the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce business to business event, I was really pleased to see the Kent County Council apprenticeships bus parked outside. Pauline Smith from KCC brought this bus back into service from its previous role in education, and it made its debut a few weeks ago outside County Hall (see Kent Apprenticeships – don’t miss the bus, 28 May 2010).
Pauline – and Keith Jackson, the young man who took up an apprenticeship with KCC and spoke so eloquently at the 2020 Vision Business Expo back in April, also accompanied me to a breakfast meeting at the London Golf Club in Tenterden a few months ago. And today, as I walked through the main exhibition, a young woman ran over to me.
“Excuse me..” she began “…I just wanted to say that I heard you speak at the London Golf Club a while ago, and I found it really inspiring.” She went on to talk about Keith and Pauline, and how his story so closely matched her own. She talked about how she, like Keith Johnson has spent time travelling around the world. How she found that travelling did more than anything to help her understand who she really was – and how that helped her find a job when she returned.
I felt really lucky to have had a brief chance to chat with that young woman. And it strengthened still further my belief that if our business community really want to have the edge over the rest of the country, they need to tap into the rich seam of talent in our young people.