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First Central - Supporting the next generation's talent to achieve great things

Original article can be found here

Remember having teenage dreams about a career you’d love to follow but not knowing where to start? Or having no clue about the sort of job you’d be good at but being in the dark about where to turn? Confusing, right? For some young people, life’s tough. Home might not be the cosy, nurturing environment kids deserve and role models are probably thin on the ground. No wonder many lack confidence and ambition. It’d be hard to imagine a future full of possibilities without a guiding hand.

That’s why First Central’s partnership with the Love Local Jobs Foundation’s Dare to Dream programme’s so important. Not just for the teenagers in the area struggling to make sense of their futures but for our own people who’re keen to live the values at the heart of our company, to practise them for the good of others. We’re not being pretentious. Ambition, Ownership, Agility and Collaboration aren’t just words; we’re serious about instilling these beliefs and behaviours into everything we do inside and outside First Central. We’re incredibly privileged in so many ways. Our colleagues are a bunch of skilled, ambitious professionals. Their achievements never fail to impress, and some of them have flourished despite difficult backgrounds. As a company we’re able to access rich resources to boost our people’s progress and learning. We’re big on continuous professional development. It’s one of our superpowers.

It's a given that our partnerships with community organisations and charities involve imaginative fundraising activities and volunteering events. Our Corporate Social Responsibility programme’s lively and energetic. Abseiling? Tick. Marathons? Yep. Colour Runs, auctions, book swaps and bake sales are just the tip of the iceberg (and no – that’s not a challenge we’re planning…) We match whatever people raise pound for pound so it’s a double whammy. Our inspiring partnerships with community organisations are about way more than donating much-needed funds though. They’re about giving our time and expertise. About sharing our people’s experience and know how. 

Dare to Dream wants kids to know that everyone, whatever their background and challenges, can accomplish remarkable things. Gary Peters, Love Local Job Foundation’s Chair of Trustees knows first-hand that young people can feel opportunities for fulfilling their potential are beyond reach. He felt that as a teenager. That’s why he’s passionate about partnering with businesses, local authorities and schools to empower the next generation. Dare to Dream kits young people out with essential skills for a modern workplace.

The employability-led scheme broadens horizons, boosts confidence, unlocks talent and makes the seemingly impossible available. For First Central, being part of Dare to Dream’s success story is a gift. Since 2019 we’ve encouraged our colleagues to put their own truth and expertise to good use by mentoring young people and motivating them to believe in a positive future. Visiting schools in the area and inviting pupils who need support to spend time in our workplace we help them grow in confidence, resilience and determination. We expand their vision. One recent student said

“The best thing I have learnt is that I am who I am and if I believe in myself I can achieve anything as long as I work hard and don’t give up.” Another summed up what they’d absorbed perfectly, 

“Self-belief, you are your best friend, be kind to everyone, life is about you.”

And, mentoring students is a positive relationship for our colleagues too; they get back as much as they give. Their sense of engagement with society’s enhanced and so’s their wellbeing. Evidence shows that helping others can benefit our mental health, reducing stress and improving mood, self-esteem and happiness. That’s definitely borne out by our people’s comments, 

“Great growth opportunity - developing your own skills while supporting others to develop. Extremely rewarding being part of someone's development and reminds you to consider the (positive) impact you can have on others.” 

“Being a mentor in the Dare to Dream programme has been a really valuable experience. Getting to help young people, dedicating the time just for them and seeing how their confidence and self-belief develops is so rewarding.” 

We’re proud of what our colleagues have contributed to this forward-thinking programme, showing young people what fulfilment looks like, one dream at a time. 


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