6 months at Lyfeproof: More than just work experience

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If you told me 6 months ago that I’d be writing my own blog, working with one of Birmingham’s most innovative youth engagement organisations and helping to collaborate on creative projects in and around Birmingham, my reaction probably would have been one of the following. Firstly”I couldn’t possibly do that’.Or,” How can I get involved?” I’m so glad it seems that I went with the latter choice all along. Now, being a part of Lyfeproof has first and foremost affirmed the passion I have for writing. But beyond the blogs I craft, it has given me so much more. I’ve had first-hand experience in a real workplace( which for a 17-year-old, is quite a big deal). I’ve been given an insight into the logistics of managing a successful business and perhaps most importantly, as Lyfeproof aims to do, I have been made to feel a lot more ‘life ready’.

On a journey to becoming Tiah Shepherd: the writer

Since entering my first short story contest at the tender age of 7, I’ve been hooked by words and more importantly the power they harness. The ability that a piece of writing has to evoke a message, spark a thought and leave an impact on someone else lies at the heart of my fascination with writing. Until I started working with Lyfeproof, it was a fascination I rarely shared, partly because I didn’t think anyone would want to listen. Beyond that though, I just didn’t know or wasn’t aware of how I could voice it. Lyfeproof gave me that voice- a platform from which I was able to immerse myself in a whole new world: blogging.
To an extent, I was thrown in at the deep end, without armbands too. I didn’t drown though. With the guidance and expertise of Lyfeproof, I began to navigate the ins and outs of how to write a successful blog. Quickly I came to realise, that there is a lot more behind the words that appear on the final webpage. In the space of a few months, I’d spoken out on the issues I believed deserved a voice, I’d put my thoughts and my opinions out there- albeit somewhat daunting. In the process, writing became both a vehicle for passionate expression as well as a means of inward self-reflection. Often, I’d read or heard people speaking about how writing or rather the writing process is a deeply transformative one, not just for a writer but also the person. Half a year later, I’d happily testify to that and be one of those people. Admittedly, I’ve learnt that I’m ,if anything ,more self-critical than I thought I was. But I’ve also realized where I’ve been missing things, not scoping out the finer details. By no means am I claiming that I’m a changed person-this isn’t one of those turning point life epiphanies. Nothing of the kind. But maybe it comes close. Close in the sense that it has opened my eyes up to who I am in my work and who I perhaps want to be. I’m quite sure that all good writers know who they are and what they want their work to say, but great writers didn’t always know this, they evolve and even then there’s always room to change.

bloggingexperience

A new experience with blogging.

What work experience really looks like…

Most of us at some point have probably had to find work experience because our school has told us it’s compulsory. I don’t speak from experience here, but for many, it’s a quick dash to a local charity shop or a phone call to your best friend’s brother who happens to own a dentist surgery. Personally, the whole concept of work experience is pretty self-explanatory. You experience the real workplace, in an area that may well end up being your calling in life, but if not, at least you can cross that one of a very long list. It was only in an attempt to find such a work placement or volunteering position, that I stumbled across a request for bloggers and writers while scrolling through Doit.org. In a tentative computer click, I registered my interest in the post. A few days later, my inbox told me that Lyfeproof wanted to see a piece of my work and have me come for an ‘interview’(I say this loosely because the team were so incredibly lovely I ended up forgetting about that part). There was no major interrogation, no attempts to catch out the incredibly nervous 16-year old writer. Instead, I was greeted by a diverse office of people, all sharing their journeys that somehow lead to Lyfeproof- and a diverse office it most certaintly is. Throughout my time at Lyfeproof, I’ve been introduced to performers, writers, graphic designers, event organisers and animators -to name a few. You never really know who’s going to walk through the door and honestly, I love that. For me, that’s what a real workplace is all about. Of course, there are periods where deadlines need to be met, where Lyfeproof is organising countless events such as creative networking and it’s fairly hectic, to say the least. But, my workplace experience at Lyfeproof has been characterised by meeting new people, networking and quite frankly being ready to introduce myself to the next exciting person that happens to come in.

creative work experience

It was the kind of work experience I had been looking for

There are always new people to meet

If my friends and family had to describe me they would probably say that I have a tendency to be quite introverted -when I want to that is. As someone considering a career in writing, journalism and reporting, having the skills to regularly encounter, approach and work with new people is near to a must on the job spec. For me, this was one of those times where my shyness in other situations somehow now didn’t really exist. I wanted to meet people. I wanted to talk to anyone and everyone. I wanted to voice the concerns, thoughts and ideas that were my own and my generations. As you can see, I had a lot of very big ambitions, which with Lyfeproof I’ve somehow managed to fulfil for the most part. During a three month period, I happened to be involved with an NCS social action project aiming to break down misconceptions about the homeless and raise awareness for the growing issue. We were looking for people, who have witnessed and really witnessed what living on the streets means. I also wanted to find out what some of the biggest barriers are that stand in our way to solving this crisis. I put this to Lyfeproof and through them made contact with Angela Hunt, the founder of Sunday Breakfast Club. I’d now done my first interview as it were and used this to form the basis of one of my personal favourite pieces to write. In addition to this, Angela was kind enough to take part in our sleep out event and gave enlightening talks which tackled the reality of homelessness today. These were the kinds of people I’d been hoping to meet and the kinds of stories I was adamant needed telling. Personally, this is what writing is all about and with Lyfeproof, I’ve been able to do just that and more.

Maybe I can survive in the real world?

People always tell you that as a teenager or young adult,, you’ve got it pretty good. We don’t have to have a job, we don’t have to pay the bills and we essentially don’t have to face up to the harsh realities of this real world. Sometimes it is easy to feel like you’re living in what I can only describe as a bubble. Well, in a matter of minutes, Lyfeproof very much so popped that bubble. But I don’t resent them for it-I’m extremely grateful. I haven’t learnt how to become a better writer, I have learnt how to become a better writer that and take that skill and passion into as I keep coming back to the real world. Though attempts are made, education doesn’t really prepare you for much beyond the restraints of a textbook or a course syllabus- and if it does, how much really and I mean really went in? Lyfeproof, has in bits and pieces, shared with me invaluable advice and guidance from: exploring career options, maintaining a healthy mind and understanding how business operates. 6 months later, I won’t deny that I’m still very much scared of what will or won’t happen in the next few years. But Lyfeproof has reassured me that this often feared uncertainty is both normal and actually kind of exciting. More so, with the right knowledge, awareness and support, this real world just may not be as bad as everyone makes out.

real life experience

The experience has taught me a lot about coping in today’s society.

It’s quite strange to think that not long ago that I didn’t even know who Lyfeproof were, what they did and how I could fit into the amazing work they do. I was just a Year 12 student, who in her 16 years, had developed somewhat of an affinity towards writing. Now, I’m still a Year 12 student, with the same love of writing, except what I’ve learnt in my time at Lyfeproof, I hope has changed me completely- and I’m 17 as well. As I continue my time at Lyfeproof, growing as both a writer and young adult, I have come to realise that I’m not just getting a period of work experience: I’m getting life experience.

Written by Tiah Shepherd

Lyfeproof – Finding creative ways to get young people life ready. Particularly through mind-set. We explain things that help you move forward in life or prevent negative outcomes. We create experiences and invite people to join. We share knowledge across sports, arts, sciences, financial literacy, employability mental health & wellbeing.

Our Vision: Imagine a world where people understand their brains enough to make better decisions, then imagine fully understanding money to never be at its mercy; now thread both with individual and collective purpose so that poverty and disadvantage can be overcome for generations to come.

Our Mission: Lyfeproof works to help young people towards well being. We aim to do this by what you see (online experiences with us), or what you feel (our events, workshops or programmes).

Our Intuition: We believe in sharing things that are proven to work for different people.

If you care enough to share and would like to blog for Lyfeproof, please email info@Lyfeproof.co.uk, using “I want to Blog for Lyfeproof” as the subject header. We appreciate you all.

Arts4Lyfe:The Motive:A new kind of networking

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Hosted at Cielo Café on the 4th April, Arts4Lyfe’s first of many monthly networking events got underway, with a diverse range of gifted, innovative,  and emerging creatives showcasing their skills. So what happens when the paint meets its canvas ? When a melody finds its lyrics? Imagine, a room full of realisations, where you’ve finally found the writer your story needs, the beat you’ve been trying to find a voice for or the passion you think you have been missing. Over the course of the evening, it was realisations like this that inspired a collective. In its debut,  Arts4Lyfe:The Motive has definitely made its mark.

‘I was surprised but pleasantly surprised’.

During the evening, the performances covered all areas of what being creative truly means. There were passionate rappers, energetic actors and talented artists all eager to share their latest project. Admittedly, both attendees and organisers were overwhelmed by what they heard, saw and witnessed. Perhaps what this proved, was that no one really knew how much talent or how much creativity was present in Birmingham and the Black Country. But now we do know, isn’t it time we both showcased it and shared it? It’s events like this which celebrate the creatives of tomorrow. They connect these up-and-coming performers and artists to other people like them. For some, they’d hit a dead end in their latest project but now they’ve met someone that’s given them a new route to explore. For others, a quirky collaboration awaits (a violinist is set to create new music together with a grime artist). Whatever the result, it’s about the collaboration, the connection and in turn possibilities that arise when creatives come together.

networking events

The networking event will run monthly.

Getting from A to B with networking

In amongst lively performances, inspiring exhibitions and the exchanging of contact details, Arts4Lyfe:The Motive did more. Passionate speakers also attended, answering questions and sharing invaluable knowledge as experts in their creative field. Beyond that they inspired. One budding actress shared her thoughts: “I liked talking to the speakers because they gave me advice of who I can speak to further my acting”. Its safe to say that the creative industry is by no means an easy one to navigate, but knowing the do’s and don’ts can really make it all the less daunting for any creative starting out.

BACK OF FLYERnetworking

How networking can help you as a creative.

A different kind of motive…

For many that attended, it was the first time they had experienced youth networking like this. Here is where the problem lies. That’s where Arts4Lyfe comes in. They aim to change the way young people access growth, resilience and progress. In doing so, events like this will no longer be just a one off. As one audience member expressed, you just don’t get a lot of this these days”. But, the truth is, that when such opportunities are made available, we as young people want to fully immerse ourselves in a venture that could take us to new levels. An evidently diverse creative scene is right on our doorsteps, so maybe it’s just about opening people’s eyes to it- even if that is just for two and a half hours. With Arts4Lyfe:The Motive, the outcomes truly are limitless.

Arts4Lyfe:The Motive takes place on the first Wednesday of every month in Sandwell and we are looking to expand to Dudley and Walsall.

Written by Tiah Shepherd. 

Lyfeproof – Finding creative ways to get young people life ready. Particularly through mind-set. We explain things that help you move forward in life or prevent negative outcomes. We create experiences and invite people to join. We share knowledge across sports, arts, sciences, financial literacy, employability mental health & wellbeing.

Our Vision: Imagine a world where people understand their brains enough to make better decisions, then imagine fully understanding money to never be at its mercy; now thread both with individual and collective purpose so that poverty and disadvantage can be overcome for generations to come.  

Our Mission: Lyfeproof works to help young people towards well being. We aim to do this by what you see (online experiences with us), or what you feel (our events, workshops or programmes).

Our Intuition: We believe in sharing things that are proven to work for different people. 

If you care enough to share and would like to blog for Lyfeproof, please email info@Lyfeproof.co.uk, using “I want to Blog for Lyfeproof” as the subject header. We appreciate you all.

 

 

 

 

Calling all creatives!

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Is this you?

Are you a budding performer looking for a stage to showcase your latest piece? An aspiring film maker, keen to premiere your most recent blockbuster? A passionate artist, with a new master piece that you want to exhibit? If you’re creative, in whatever shape, form and outlet this may take, Arts4Lyfe: The Motive wants you. If you’re not quite sure of how to get your vision off the ground, this is your chance to collaborate and build a team.If you haven’t quite found the art form that really excites you, this is your chance to get inspired.In our monthly meetupsthat have the aim of bringing like minded creatives together, these networking events, could be the ideal opportunity for you to get your creation and your passion out there.

creatives meetup

Creatives can showcase their work. 

Perhaps you’re in a scenario similar to this. You’re a creative. You have something to share-but maybe it needs the innovation and talents of others. You might also lack the knowledge of how to really ‘make’ it in this industry-after all, school doesn’t really teach you these skills. That’s where we come in. Arts4Lyfe is driven by giving young people the chance to both present their work while at the same time hear from expert professionals. Collectively, it is hoped that this can and will only enhance you as a creative, in a frankly tough industry. But, it’s an industry that you certainly shouldn’t give up on, especially when The Creative Industries Federation Chief Executive has stressed that these industries “will be as important to future economic success as traditional industries, such as cars or oil and gas”.

So, whether you need a stage to fill, a catwalk to model, or a screen to project, we’ll sort that, all we need from you is your passion and a positive mindset. 

So, if you need creative talent or want like minded people to grow a project with, this is the place. Fill in this form to perform or exhibit your art form.

Written By Tiah Shepherd.

Lyfeproof – Finding creative ways to get young people life ready. Particularly through mind-set. We explain things that help you move forward in life or prevent negative outcomes. We create experiences and invite people to join. We share knowledge across sports, arts, sciences, financial literacy, employability mental health & wellbeing.

Our Vision: Imagine a world where people understand their brains enough to make better decisions, then imagine fully understanding money to never be at its mercy; now thread both with individual and collective purpose so that poverty and disadvantage can be overcome for generations to come.  

Our Mission: Lyfeproof works to help young people towards well being. We aim to do this by what you see (online experiences with us), or what you feel (our events, workshops or programmes).

Our Intuition: We believe in sharing things that are proven to work for different people. 

If you care enough to share and would like to blog for Lyfeproof, please email info@Lyfeproof.co.uk, using “I want to Blog for Lyfeproof” as the subject header. We appreciate you all.

 

 

passion creatives

Get Motivated at Arts4lyfe Monthly Meetups

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The Motive – Monthly Networking for Creatives.

Lyfeproof develops an additional platform to get life ready in creative ways.

Breaking into the arts is tough, especially in such a competitive working world. You’ll hear countless advice that stresses the importance of ‘standing out’. But with education, apprenticeships and job prospects clogging up free time this can be a tricky task. Arts4Lyfe is our programme that uses the arts to develop the right skills and mentalities for tomorrow’s world.

 

A4L Monthly Creative Networking Green

Networking is perhaps one of the best ways to ‘stand out’ and build up your status with other creatives working in the field. For this reason, Arts4lyfe is hosting a series of monthly networking events to help anyone who is looking to break into the creative industry.

 

 

This month we’ll be meeting at Café Cielo in West Brom on the 4th April with the theme of:

#opportunities.

From visual to performing arts; from film-making to make-up artistry we invite you all to this free, friendly and exciting event. With live performances and a panel of experts from the creative industry, this is an unmissable opportunity to meet new people, share ideas and most importantly to get networking and building your career prospects in the arts. There will even be a chance for creative call out opportunities – where requests for collaboration, creative skills, team members and mentors can be made.

 

TAG A CREATIVE gif

So if you need creative talent or want like minded people to grow a project with, this is the place. Fill in this form to perform or exhibit your art form.

This is your chance to stand out among the crowd and exhibit your art form among peers.

Don’t miss out. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook for more information.

 

Written by: Phoebe Kelly

Lyfeproof – Finding creative ways to get young people life ready. Particularly through mind-set. We explain things that help you move forward in life or prevent negative outcomes. We create experiences and invite people to join. We share knowledge across sports, arts, sciences, financial literacy, employability mental health & wellbeing.

Our Vision: Imagine a world where people understand their brains enough to make better decisions, then imagine fully understanding money to never be at its mercy; now thread both with individual and collective purpose so that poverty and disadvantage can be overcome for generations to come.  

Our Mission: Lyfeproof works to help young people towards well being. We aim to do this by what you see (online experiences with us), or what you feel (our events, workshops or programmes).

Our Intuition: We believe in sharing things that are proven to work for different people. 

If you care enough to share and would like to blog for Lyfeproof, please email info@Lyfeproof.co.uk, using “I want to Blog for Lyfeproof” as the subject header. We appreciate you all.

 

Forget everything you think you knew about homelessness

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Arguably, at a crisis point, homelessness conversations are on the rise, but what are people’s misconceptions of it? If any. After meeting and discussing the enormity of the issue with Angela Hunt who is the founder of SBC (Sunday Breakfast Club) an independent outreach project that seeks to provide both a hot and valuable meal as well as a listening ear to those sleeping rough ,Tiah Shepherd considers what this meeting revealed to her about what in fact is the reality of the situation. 

homlessness and rough sleepers

According to the recent figures surrounding homelessness around 4,751 people are estimated to be sleeping rough on any one night(Homeless Link).

We see the news reports, listen to the pleas for donations and most likely see at least one example on our way to school, work and noticeably Birmingham City Centre. Many of us may think we understand what it is, what’s being done to relieve the situation and what we perhaps all should be doing to help. Before I sat down to talk about homelessness with SBC founder Angela Hunt, I didIn just under 60 minutes, Angela managed to if not completely reform and remodel my outlook on the issue, an outlook I think we all need to as she stressed ‘open our eyes to’.

Misconception #1: Someone is homeless for 1 of 3 reasons: Drugs, dropout, delinquent.

Maybe we’re not entirely wrong in labelling the man or woman we pass outside the Bullring, begging from an old Costa cup as a drug user. Considering figures from Homeless Link reporting that from 2,590 responses from people using services in 19 areas across England, 39% said they take drugs or are recovering from a drug problem and 27% have or are recovering from an alcohol problem. So, perhaps the odd £5 they happen to receive from the one person that decides to stop, will feed their addiction. But, where we are wrong, is supposing that every homeless person is now asking for our change because they spent all of their own on getting their next fix. I’m being lenient with people here, myself included. By supposing, what I really mean is judging. As Angela rightly emphasised, it is inherently within us to judge others and crucially ‘it’s always the negative’ that we see- homelessness more times than not finds itself on the receiving end of this. In turn, this has given way to a collective disregard, a disregard for the countless other routes that someone may have found themselves on, routes that lead them to call the streets their home. We can’t keep dismissing this, not when Crisis reports that people sleeping on the street are almost 17 times more likely to have been victims of violence, not when Mental Health Foundation finds that 32% of single homeless people reported a mental health problem and not when people like Angela have seen and heard the stories of as she calls them the real ‘road lovelies’(this being one of Angela’s many attempts to rebrand how the homeless are viewed). 

Approaches to homelessnes

Different approaches are necessary to help combat homelessness.

Misconception #2: You can solve everything with a cuppa.

You probably feel as though you’ve done your bit, if you can recall a time you decided to do something for a homeless person. A time where you’ve given a rough sleeper something to eat, or bought them a cup of tea-why wouldn’t you, feel like quite the good Samaritan after this? How would you feel though, if you knew they’d thrown away that half a sandwich you couldn’t finish, that leftover from your meal out, that cuppa even? What Angela repeatedly reiterated to me, was that, it’s this kind of ‘stick a band-aid on it’ approach, that many adopt. That it is this approach, which is stopping us from making any real forward movements. The effort is being put on what we think people want- not what they need. What if I told you, that they don’t want your food, money even? What they actually want costs you nothing. From what I can see,there is somewhat of a divide between the homed and the homeless, when in reality we’re only a step away from being where they are and vice a versa. The way to unify these two ‘sides’?

Talking.

For most and must I emphasise genuine rough sleepers, the last sort of interaction they had with someone else may not have been for days or even longer. Angela has recognised this, seeking to address it in her concise yet more than powerful 3 C’s approach: community, connections, cuppa( but the difference here is the cuppa is optional). Through talking with our fellow citizens, we can establish how to support them, we can make them feel like their not the stigma that deems them worthless and we can ascertain their real needs: not assume them.

Misconception#3:The problem’s just too big.

Some people might think that there are certain things that cannot be fixed. That some issues are simply beyond the point of being helped. And if this is the case, there is no point doing anything. This is potentially what has happened where homelessness is concerned. Sitting down with Angela gave me the chance to understand and acknowledge homelessness for all that it has come to be. Admittedly, this understanding was merely adequate, limited by my own failure to expand it. It’s not like homelessness wasn’t, isn’t and indeed, will not be something I only see from a news report. Instead, homelessness is right on my doorstep-it’s on the whole of Birmingham’s doorstep. As the second city, Birmingham is ranked 25th nationally for homelessness and Shelter says that 1 out of 88 people in the city are homeless. With this is mind, there’s no way for us to ignore it. So why does it feel like we’re trying to? Or is this feeling, really a culmination of our own inability to see what actually can be done? Optimistically, I want to say the latter.

Doing something for homelessness

There’s a lot that can be done for homelessness. 

By no means am I condemning those of you that have made a conscientious choice to stop on your journey and give whatever change you can find in the bottom of your purse. I’m certainly not advocating that you don’t offer a cup of tea, to someone you think needs it more than you. More so, what I took from my conversation with Angela is that she isn’t either. What I did take away and what hopefully I’m translating to you, is that we can all play our part, but the way we do so possibly needs re-thinking. Like many other issues society is facing, there is undoubtedly always going to be more than one approach we wish to take. However, we must first recognize that there is something that can be done, that’s not beyond us. And if you can’t see this consider the fact that Angela’s 5-year old grandson volunteers with his Grandma on a Sunday morning of SBC .So really where’s the rest of our excuses? Equally, you don’t have to vow to end homelessness- the truth is you couldn’t on your own anyway. But, there’s definitely a middle ground.

In keeping with her many awesome hashtags, I took a particular liking to Angela’s #inmypocket initiative. Explaining this, she urges people to think about what they could fit in their pocket, that they could potentially offer to a homeless person that would massively appreciate them. A Mars bar, a pair of socks, sanitary towels. An odd combination yes, but by no means could such overlooked things go such a long way. Beyond that there’s the obvious- volunteer with people like Angela and outreach projects like SBC. As I listened to her explain a recent holistic pamper day she put on, offering haircuts, shaves and all round pampering for her road lovelies, I was both inspired and a little surprised at first. It showed me that it’s not all about soup kitchens but is about making a connection with someone. It’s about getting people together in order to link them to the help that is available and it’s about just doing something kind because you can.

Homelessness approaches

Anyone can do something to help the homelessness crisis.

So, maybe next time you pass someone homeless, your first thought this time won’t be, ‘druggie’. Maybe, next time you notice someone sleeping rough you’ll ask if they want whatever it may be you’re offering. Maybe, next time it will be you giving up your time and compassion for someone who will appreciate it more than you even realise. There are no guarantees, but there is the potential, for all of us to better the lives of those living on the streets of Birmingham. 

Written by Tiah Shepherd.

For more information about the amazing work that Angela does check out the following link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1910305109216960/

 

Lyfeproof – Finding creative ways to get young people life ready. Particularly through mind-set. We explain things that help you move forward in life or prevent negative outcomes. We create experiences and invite people to join. We share knowledge across sports, arts, sciences, financial literacy, employability mental health & wellbeing.

Our Vision: Imagine a world where people understand their brains enough to make better decisions, then imagine fully understanding money to never be at its mercy; now thread both with individual and collective purpose so that poverty and disadvantage can be overcome for generations to come.  

Our Mission: Lyfeproof works to help young people towards well being. We aim to do this by what you see (online experiences with us), or what you feel (our events, workshops or programmes).

Our Intuition: We believe in sharing things that are proven to work for different people. 

If you care enough to share and would like to blog for Lyfeproof, please email info@Lyfeproof.co.uk, using “I want to Blog for Lyfeproof” as the subject header. We appreciate you all.

Could my ‘gender identity’ stop me from getting a job?

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Transgender and other gender identity statuses are important to more and more young people. Finding and keeping a job can be affected by many things. Tiah Shepherd, a 16-year-old student in her first year of A-Level studies, reflects on equality in the workplace following her first paid job.

Is the workplace even safe anymore?

Working hard and being yourself may not be enough …

As we move into 2018, on the verge of what many would describe as great change for the world as we know it, I find myself questioning if all things have evolved as they appear to be. It’s something that once was shunned, disputed and challenged. Or should I say still is. Today, I am not limited by my female sex, as it stands biologically or outwardly. If I wanted to, I could identify as transgender, meaning that as the BBC explains in a guide to transgender and gender identity terms my gender is different from my “assigned” sex at birth – that written on my birth certificate. Equally, I could tell people that I am non-binary, meaning that I am in fact neither female nor male.

Gender identity matters to young people

Many would argue we have reached a point where this sense of individual, autonomous freedom is widely accepted, celebrated even. But maybe this acceptance is a lot more feigned that many us would like to think.It is, what I have witnessed  first-hand, as a sister to an openly transgender brother, far from genuinely being, a notion, a choice, a right, that is acknowledged positively in many significant aspects of daily life.

So, was I shocked to discover that according to Totaljobs , 53% of trans employees have felt the need to hide their trans status from colleagues? Sadly, no. Was I then shocked to find that the survey also stated 60% have experienced some form of transphobic discrimination in the workplace? Undoubtedly, yes. It is evident, that in spite of most people’s attempts to make universal acceptance a reality, this isn’t the case for society. Again this sadly does not surprise me. But what does, is that the world of work is not that safe for people to be themselves. Somewhere, that as a professional environment, I believed was protected from the disparities that hinder the prospects of others. The workplace for me, as a young person dipping my feet into gradually is a place where your contribution to an enterprise or organisation is what both defines who you are and how others perceive you. By no means should gender affect this.

Something for everyone

More than just male and female…

I’m not trans. I’m not gender fluid. I openly identify with what in the simplest sense, health forms, surveys, and quite frankly what public restrooms constitute as female.  I am the girl with the skirt on the door.

Young people explore their gender identity

So, what is my issue here? The important thing to bear in mind is that the often coined ‘umbrella’ of terms, now used to convey one’s gender, is where more so than ever, the younger generation find a safe place to belong. When my brother began his transition more than a year ago, I was like most people, who were to a degree roughly familiar with what ‘being trans’ meant. What I didn’t know, also like most people, was actually how much more there was to it. Lyfeproof exists to support young people and of course, this support stretches to all young people. And ‘all’ really means a lot nowadays as emphasised by the sheer number of articles, explorations and explanations offered by organisations such as Stonewall. Ranging from Cisgender (or Cis), where someone’s gender identity is the same as the sex they were assigned at birth (that’s most of you reading in fact), through to ‘aporagender’ a fairly new word stemming from the Greek ‘apor’, meaning ‘separate’, where one has  “a gender separate from male, female and anything in between” while still having a very strong and specific gendered feeling.

To me, it’s my social peers, my equivalents, my friends, who are increasingly choosing to consider their gender identity in a way that is clearly not bound to the two options, science, history, and rather practicalities limit us to. The thing is,  it’s also these people, that are the pioneers of what is to come. Young people are more than ready and eager to enhance the industries, the research and ultimately the thinking that continue to change and progressively better all our futures.

But, will they even be given the opportunity to do so? That is largely unclear, when the same Totaljobs report disclosed that more than one quarter (29%) have faced discrimination as early as the interview stage. I distinctly remember hearing my brother talk about his previous employer and I say distinctly because what he revealed was worth me remembering, perhaps for the wrong reasons: ‘I was purposely made to clean the female toilets and both my boss and my colleagues refused to call me by my chosen name and  instead I was addressed by my former female name, even though they explicitly knew of my trans status’. Workplace discrimination because of gender identity in the workplace

 

 Its all about change

Embracing gender identity in the workplace…

There are many more examples like my brother’s, which is my issue. In today’s climate, where finding work is only becoming more difficult for job seekers – particularly for those that Lyfeproof seeks to engage – transgender discrimination is yet another unjustified reason to refuse their employment. Thankfully, there are many instances where action is being taken to combat this downright depreciative denial. In the UK’s Gender Recognition Act of 2004 and the 2010 Equality Act, discrimination based on gender identity is officially recognized as unacceptable. Many large companies are beginning to develop zero-tolerance approaches to discrimination. There’s even a book by Jennie Kermode (Chairperson of Trans Media Watch – a charity encouraging positive media representations of the transgender community), called Transgender Employees in the Workplace giving employers guidelines for maintaining a fully inclusive workplace.

Gender identity in the workplace

But whether our businesses, companies and franchises, will and are following such suggestions I am not too sure of.  What I am sure of, is that a job opportunity should at least be there. Importantly, it should exist as a result of their skills and passions; where as far as I am aware gender, has no bearing on your capabilities. Especially, where meeting the job spec is concerned.

 

Written by Tiah Shepherd.

 

Lyfeproof – Finding creative ways to get young people life ready. Particularly through mindset. We explain things that help you move forward in life or prevent negative outcomes. We create experiences and invite people to join. We share knowledge across sports, arts, sciences, financial literacy, employability mental health & wellbeing.

Our Vision: Imagine a world where people understand their brains enough to make better decisions, then imagine fully understanding money to never be at its mercy; now thread both with individual and collective purpose so that poverty and disadvantage can be overcome for generations to come.  

Our Mission: Lyfeproof works to help young people towards well being. We aim to do this by what you see (online experiences with us), or what you feel (our events, workshops or programmes).

Our Intuition: We believe in sharing things that are proven to work for different people. 

If you care enough to share and would like to blog for Lyfeproof, please email info@Lyfeproof.co.uk, using “I want to Blog for Lyfeproof” as the subject header. We appreciate you all.

Catering Jobs for young people

Street Food Sustainable Career or Passing Fad?

By | Young People's Blogs | No Comments

Can this Street Food Jobs help you get life ready?

Calling all food lovers! Sit down and let me take you away to food heaven. Imagine it: the crisp sizzle of a burger frying on the hot plates of the burger van while the chatter and clatter of coins and conversation pass you by; the sinfully sweet aroma of candyfloss and doughnuts combining with the savoury delicacy of chips, fresh out of the fryer.

A few years ago this would have been something many people would have only experienced at a festival or perhaps during their holidays at the seaside. But now with events such as the Digbeth Dining Club setting up near the Custard Factory, we are seeing a rapid rise in popularity and demand for the street food movement and in turn street food jobs.

Jobs For Young People In Food Industry

Street Food Jobs Birmingham

With this delectable craze quickly becoming a nationwide revolution, is this a career that young people should be interested in pursuing?

Or like many other Instagramable food crazes, is this something that will simply pass us by?
NCASS, one of the UK’s only trade associations for street food traders, certainly doesn’t think so. Their organisation exists to assist many young (or older) entrepreneurs in setting up their own business in street food. Mark Laurie, the director of this Birmingham based organisation, certainly feels that the street food industry, in its trendy and youthful glory, is of huge relevance to the community, calling it business in its rawest form. A pure market in a sense… which is enabling lots of new owner operator businesses’.  He commented that “I think younger people get the foodie revolution that’s going on, they’re driving it, so it makes sense that they would be well suited to it.”

 

Birmingham is one of the most youthful cities in the UK, with approximately 46% of its population being under 30. It’s therefore not a surprise that events like The Digbeth Dining Club that takes place near the Custard Factory every Saturday and Friday, are such a huge hit within the city.

The street food industry provides a perfect environment for the young generation of today. We have grown up with technology; being able to navigate our way around almost every kind of social media without even thinking; knowing almost every food craze imaginable from all around the world.

Through this our culinary knowledge seems to have been enhanced and some might even say refined.
We have been inspired by many years of Mary Berry on the Great British Bake Off and have gained an appreciation for the finer foods of Master Chef. We get the allergies, the need for vegan food and halal meat and most importantly we LOVE food.

Maybe you’ve always dreamed of running a business in the food industry. Perhaps you are someone who can’t get enough of addictive and wonderful environment the street food revolution brings with it. Or maybe you are simply looking for an enjoyable job that can take the stress away from your studies. Either way, this revolution is something for everyone, as Mark Laurie explains:

“For some it’s a stepping stone, for others a way of life, some simply fall into it. It depends on the individual, I have customers who do it for the smiles on their customers faces and the camaraderie of the market, others can’t wait to open a nice warm restaurant with a real roof. You don’t really know until you’ve tried it. But I would say it is for glass half full kind of people. It’s hard work and it’s no licence to print money. For every (seemingly) over night success there are many more who tick along or don’t make it work.”

If you are interested in starting your own street food business as a young entrepreneur, NCASS is the place to start your journey. They are by far one of the most supportive and beneficial organisations to begin your business with for a variety of different reasons. One of which is due to their government scheme. They are one of the only organisations in the UK that offer this ‘legal and assured’ scheme that allows you peace of mind when beginning a business, something that is comforting to know for young and perhaps inexperienced entrepreneurs that are new to the world of the food industry.

Catering Jobs for young people

NCASS – Nationwide Caterers Association – give employment and job opportunities for young people in the food industry.

With an investment of just under £5000, a bit of creativity and a bucket full of passion and ambition, with NCASS’s assistance you could find your way out onto the scene of this trendy industry. This can be true for anyone, whether you are looking for a full-time career or perhaps just a job to keep you going at university.

The NCASS have taken on university students before with great success. The Caribou Poutine company is just one of many examples. The company is run by two university students, Michael and Lizzy, who managed to balance out the stress of university exams in their second year alongside their first event at the Digbeth Dining Club. They are two very passionate young people who are characters of true inspiration for any student looking to break into the industry. They gave some advice for anyone looking to start up their own business:

“If you fully believe in it and put in the hard work you can make it happen! All the traders are so great and always help each other out, so get some good advice from those who’ve already done it – help is always there.”

 

So is the street food job just simply a new trend that will fade into the dark space where the Unicorn Frappuccino and charcoal ice cream has descended into?

With organisations like NCASS and passionate, young people behind this vibrant and enthralling scene, it seems likely that this is an industry that will stretch out and be kept alive by the up and coming generation of today.

Interested? NCASS are launching a competition to support young people with street food jobs or ideas to start their own businesses so follow NCASS  for updates.  

 

Written by Phoebe Kelly

 

 

Lyfeproof – Finding creative ways to get young people life ready. Particularly through mindset. We explain things that help you move forward in life or prevent negative outcomes. We create experiences and invite people to join. We share knowledge across sports, arts, sciences, financial literacy, employability mental health & wellbeing.

Our Vision: Imagine a world where people understand their brains enough to make better decisions, then imagine fully understanding money to never be at its mercy; now thread both with individual and collective purpose so that poverty and disadvantage can be overcome for generations to come.  

Our Mission: Lyfeproof works to help young people towards well being. We aim to do this by what you see (online experiences with us), or what you feel (our events, workshops or programmes).

Our Intuition: We believe in sharing things that are proven to work for different people. 

If you care enough to share and would like to blog for Lyfeproof, please email info@Lyfeproof.co.uk, using “I want to Blog for Lyfeproof” as the subject header. We appreciate you all.

Are you Woman Enough for I Am Marah? – Female Empowerment Platform

By | Uncategorized, Young People's Blogs | No Comments

Music.

Media.

And plenty of Girl Power.

On the 27th October, Iamace brought to Birmingham I am Marah, an event designed promote female empowerment and to inspire YOU to get your creative juices flowing and succeed in a career that is dictated by your ambitions. Not society’s standards. It was a night to let loose, have some fun and to be surrounded by like-minded people in an atmosphere brimming with positivity for female empowerment.

For those of you that don’t know, I am Marah translated from Arabic literally means I am Woman. A powerful statement that should never be underestimated. At least that’s what Ace believes. She is a woman whose DNA perhaps holds the exact sequence for passion and positivity. It’s her firm belief that we all have that sequence buried in our molecular structures somewhere. It’s just a case of unlocking it and unleashing our potential.

So many talented and inspirational female artists performed to prove that, with a mind packed with ambition and heart full of passion, something that, for years might have felt out of your grasp are actually achievable. Frizz Music and DJ AMS were just a couple of the incredible artists that performed in support of young women in the Birmingham community and beyond.

I am Marah is only a small (admittedly still brightly coloured) section of the umbrella system that is IamAce. This section focuses more on empowering women in the music and media industry and aims to work with women from all walks of life. Just a small portion of those people being those that suffer with illness or are going through bereavement.

Like Lyfeproof, Ace will not build your tower but instead will help shelter your leaky foundations from the rain and give you the bricks needed to build up a career. Her view is that people have to endure enough challenges in life. Financial challenges to a potential career do not need to be a part of this.

Need a laptop?

A phone?

Maybe even something as basic as decent broadband?

A supportive network under IamAce awaits for anyone with the passion and drive to succeed.

 BUT do not be fooled but the title of this blog.

 OR even, for that matter, the name of the event.

Ace’s umbrella reaches out far and wide to offer shelter to anyone stuck in the cold showers that, at times, can feel never ending. Her umbrella’s brightly bold patterning and colours should be a beacon of hope and light to anyone that needs her support.

Just because this movement is dedicated to the empowerment of women, it doesn’t mean that people from all walks of life can’t walk through the doors. Gender, age, race, sexuality are merely labels. As long as you are willing to put the time and effort in, Ace will welcome you with a huge smile, open arms and inspire you to do something incredible within the first five minutes of meeting her. Email iamace2018@gmail.com to find out more.

So come along to their next event and have a bit of fun, you never know what you might be inspired to do…

 

Written by Phoebe Kelly

 

Lyfeproof – Finding creative ways to get young people life ready. Particularly through mindset. We explain things that help you move forward in life or prevent negative outcomes. We create experiences and invite people to join. We share knowledge across sports, arts, sciences, financial literacy, employability mental health & wellbeing.

Our Vision: Imagine a world where people understand their brains enough to make better decisions, then imagine fully understanding money to never be at its mercy; now thread both with individual and collective purpose so that poverty and disadvantage can be overcome for generations to come.  

Our Mission: Lyfeproof works to help young people towards well being. We aim to do this by what you see (online experiences with us), or what you feel (our events, workshops or programmes).

Our Intuition: We believe in sharing things that are proven to work for different people. 

If you care enough to share and would like to blog for Lyfeproof, please email info@Lyfeproof.co.uk, using “I want to Blog for Lyfeproof” as the subject header. We appreciate you all

One Small Step for a Student… One Giant Leap Towards the Future!

By | Blog, Team Blogs | No Comments

For many, starting university includes moving away from the family home and supporting themselves entirely. Often that means finding a job, but for some, like myself, becoming entangled in a rigid, inflexible paid job during this stressful time is not the most practical or effective plan for doing well in our degrees.

But without a paid job under our belts, how are we supposed to gain experience in the career that we wish to pursue?

Note to Self-Number 3 billion and 1:

Expect the Unexpected

Volunteering offers a route into the world of workVolunteering was an idea given to me by my mother’s friend, who had recently taken up an opportunity through DO-IT: a brilliant and ridiculously easy to use website if you are considering a volunteer role. It was an option that appealed to me for a variety of different reasons, one of which being the flexibility. With university looming, I knew that my spare time would dwindle to perhaps a few scattered hours per week; certainly not enough to satisfy an employer. Through volunteering I now am able to balance the work from the role alongside my other responsibilities, both at home and in terms of my education.

What I didn’t expect, however, was how much becoming a Lyfeproof blogger would teach me about the basic and specialised skill sets necessary for pursuing a career of your choice.

 

Note to Self-Number 3 billion and 2:

Just because you studied Creative Writing A-level doesn’t mean you are ‘a writer’

Although the government likes to believe that education prepares us for the harsher and more brutal realities of the world, the truth is it doesn’t. Here at Lyfeproof, the team are providing opportunities for young people to cross that cavernous gap from education to work.

Lyfeproof Help Bridge the Gap Between Education and EmployabilityAlthough they do not build the bridge for you, they would never leave you with only rotten rope to swing across. They allow you to stumble and make mistakes, and they provide the safety net if you fall. Volunteering at Lyfeproof allows my imagination to thrive and has helped my restless mind to hone the necessary skills that employers look for.

Volunteering isn’t all about skills to make your CV look shiny (although it does help). It’s about a sense of personal achievement, a confidence boost that we all need to take that first step into the world beyond education.

Before becoming a volunteer here, I had no means of getting my writing out there and honestly didn’t believe that I ever would be able to. I lacked the confidence in myself and I will admit that I still do to a certain extent. Despite only volunteering with Lyfeproof for a short time, they have given me the opportunity to begin building my own bridge over a crevasse I never thought I’d be able to cross. Just by writing this blog, I have an opportunity to prove to myself that I am capable, something that my creative writing A-level never could do.

 

Note to self-3 billion and 3:

Give a Little, Learn a Lot

Volunteering sets you up with the life skills that are needed to go far, the kind of skills that Lyfeproof are trying to make more accessible to young people like you and me. But you might be reading this now wondering why you’d want to volunteer for free when you can gain experience through a job that pays a wage. Understandably, it is not something that will suit everyone as many young people would rather have the money as well as the training. For me, volunteering can offer training in jobs that are perhaps a little out of reach for us young, inexperienced adults. A paid job for someone straight out of college or sixth form doesn’t often lead into a career, or help you start building for one.

If I hadn’t taken up this voluntary position, getting professional writing experience meant I would have had to travel to London for a few weeks of work experience, a journey that would have been very costly and would have only supplied a large burst of knowledge in a short space of time. This is not a learning style that suits me and it was a comfort to come into an environment with people that actually understand young people.

Lyfeproof have instead given me the opportunity to learn and retain the information. Instead of criticising mistakes and failures like school sometimes seems to do, the Lyfeproof team will nurture your skills so that they can be moulded and shaped into something small but permanent that you can carry in your pocket, sound in the knowledge that nobody will ever be able to take that away from you.

Finding Your 'Why' in Life

Note to Self 3 Billion and 4:

You haven’t finished finding your ‘why’ in life just yet…

So no, you will not be paid in cash for volunteering. Instead, you’ll be rewarded with something much more valuable.

You’ll earn the skills that will boost your CV and in the process, gain greater confidence in yourself while being exposed to a working environment that might not be so different from the one you will find yourself in for your career.

 

Written by Phoebe Kelly

 

Lyfeproof – Finding creative ways to get young people life ready. Particularly through mindset. We explain things that help you move forward in life or prevent negative outcomes. We create experiences and invite people to join. We share knowledge across sports, arts, sciences, financial literacy, employability mental health & wellbeing.

Our Vision: Imagine a world where people understand their brains enough to make better decisions, then imagine fully understanding money to never be at its mercy; now thread both with individual and collective purpose so that poverty and disadvantage can be overcome for generations to come.  

Our Mission: Lyfeproof works to help young people towards well being. We aim to do this by what you see (online experiences with us), or what you feel (our events, workshops or programmes).

Our Intuition: We believe in sharing things that are proven to work for different people. 

If you care enough to share and would like to blog for Lyfeproof, please email info@Lyfeproof.co.uk, using “I want to Blog for Lyfeproof” as the subject header. We appreciate you all.

Meet Top UK Artists with Arts4Lyfe

By | Blog, Events | No Comments

On Sunday 30th July, Lyfeproof’s Arts4Lyfe programme is hosting a meet and greet event with three of the best UK artists, giving you the chance to ask questions, get autographs and pictures and hang with the stars.

We have invited Paigey Cakey, Relley C and Nadia Rose to come and meet fans in an intimate drop in session. The location will be confirmed soon so stay tuned for updates!

relley cRelley C is a Birmingham-born singer-songwriter. Best known as a finalist on X Factor 2016, Relley C dropped her soulful and uplifting single ‘Unruly’ earlier this summer. She will be headlining the Best of Brum stage at Simmer Down Festival 2017 on 23rd July in Handsworth.

paigey cakey

Paigey Cakey is an MC, singer and actress from Hackney, London. She has supported the likes of Lil Kim and Eve, and collaborated with Stormzy, Sneakbo, Young and more. Her tracks are filled with catchy hooks & smart bars and have attracted a lot of radio play.

nadia rose

Nadia Rose is a rapper from Croyden, London. She released her debut EP Highly Flammable in January this year, after the success of singles ‘Station’, ‘BOOM’ and ‘D.F.W.T.’ After beginning on YouTube, her witty lines and charismatic attitude brought her endless playability, and her freestyle skills have been featured on Radio 1Xtra’s Toddla T and DJ Semtex.

Both Paigey Cakey and Nadia Rose are part of an upsurge in women’s voices in a male-dominated UK HipHop and Grime scene, but hold their own against the boys regardless of gender. Arts4Lyfe supports young people and social change.

Tickets cost £20, for which you will get the chance to meet the stars face to face, chat about music, get autographs and pics for your instagram feed. Arts4Lyfe will be doing more events and want to support young people to have a great time.

For more information contact us on arts4lyfe@LyfeProof.co.uk

 

Lyfeproof – Finding creative ways to get young people life ready. Particularly through mindset. We explain things that help you move forward in life or prevent negative outcomes. We create experiences and invite people to join. We share knowledge across sports, arts, sciences, financial literacy, employability mental health & wellbeing.

Our Vision: Imagine a world where people understand their brains enough to make better decisions, then imagine fully understanding money to never be at its mercy; now thread both with individual and collective purpose so that poverty and disadvantage can be overcome for generations to come.  

Our Mission: Lyfeproof works to help young people towards well being. We aim to do this by what you see (online experiences with us), or what you feel (our events, workshops or programmes).

Our Intuition: We believe in sharing things that are proven to work for different people. 

If you care enough to share and would like to blog for Lyfeproof, please email info@Lyfeproof.co.uk, using “I want to Blog for Lyfeproof” as the subject header. We appreciate you all