Eli is the AYCH Project Coordinator at Plymouth College of Art, today she is with us to answer some questions.
PCA was amongst the first AYCH Hubs to launch the Incubation Programme. How do you see from your perspective the evolution of the young people who work with you?
That’s right, we launched the first cohort of our 9-month Incubation Programme with the mission to help young people from all backgrounds to take their idea to life. We selected 9 participants coming from Plymouth with various backgrounds. They had different and impactful projects ideas around upcycling old clothes, designing a restorative space for ill people, developing an AI software for retailers, publishing a cookbook, becoming a creative activist YouTuber, launching a sustainable fashion brand, etc.
I find it fascinating to mentor these young creatives and follow their progress in shaping their projects. What I’ve noticed throughout the Incubation Programme was their level of confidence and the skills they develop. They realised they had talent and potential to do something great, and as they learned new enterprise skills to frame and pitch their work, they build up confidence.
And because we always work in non-formal settings, the participants felt at ease to express their fear and challenges in front of the group, which takes courage but it led to lots of knowledge sharing and collaboration.
We now have a group of trained young entrepreneurs who help each other, after 3 months of weekly sessions, some of them are already close to launch their product to market or set-up their new business, it’s very impressive. Next steps for them are to test and develop their product and business in another AYCH Hub through the International Residencies where they will benefit from specific expertise and will connect with other like minded creatives, such a great opportunity for them, I’m really looking forward to following their adventures!
Eli, as a young woman: what would you say to girls like you who want to start their career and do not dare?
- Be proactive, ambitious and only apply for positions that truly appeal to you!
- Mobility helps a lot because it takes you out of your comfort zone and that’s when you learn and become more confident
- Don’t hesitate to travel, even for a job interview, that’s an investment but it shows courage, agility and motivation
- Be patient, it takes time to find a great job
Nowadays, there are so many opportunities to gain experience, travel and learn skills (AYCH being part of them now). I was born and raised in a working class family in a small town in Brittany, France. Thanks to the great number of educational programmes, I have managed to study in Rennes and Montpellier, France but also in Finland (Erasmus). I was then selected to work in Greece (internship) and in the USA as part of my Masters. Then I worked in Paris (internship) a few months and I’m now working in the UK.
Today I’m 25 years old, I have almost reimbursed my student loan, but what’s most important is the experience I have in project management and cross-cultural communication and all the great people I met and places I discovered on my journey. I’m now working for young people in an inspiring place (plymouth city and the art college) and I’m seeing all those great projects and initiatives for a more sustainable future, I could not ask for a better job!
What do you think Aych offers that does not offer another project, or another educational program?
AYCH offers so many free opportunities for all young people. It’s a unique and visionary programme because it’s non-formal (cool, creative, innovative) and it adapts to your needs while focusing on what will be needed in the future (digital skills, sustainability focus, self employment, collaboration, creativity, etc).
You can learn skills in problem-solving with the design thinking approach but also digital, creative and enterprise skills. You can also develop a project, product, business with the help of experts and you also get to travel and meet like-minded young people across the Atlantic Area. You meet people and you get to think out of the box. You get lots of support on your personal and professional journey and you also get to use plenty of equipment in the AYCH Hubs that often include FabLabs, co-working spaces, etc.
AYCH an amazing project/community to be part of!