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Entrepreneurs with a dream

Force-7 famously won Young Enterprise way back in 2006, but this week we have two budding entrepreneurs in the office working as summer interns. Jack Moore 17 and Daniel Lockwood 17 are looking to follow in their new temporary boss Philip Batty’s footsteps. The two new interns have recently just set up their own business ‘Kingstone’ just 7 weeks ago, the business is currently looking very promising making a comfortable profit and gaining a positive reputation.

I recently caught up with the boys in the Force-7 office and got to know their story so far.

First of all, what made you want to start your own business?

Jack: Ever since I was young I have always wanted to own a successful business, I don’t know what it is that made me want one so bad but I think the sense of ownership does it for me. All I have ever wanted to be is successful, although there are obstacles in the way that will possibly cause problems for me in the future, nothing will stop an entrepreneur from achieving his goal.

Danny: Ever since I was a baby I’ve had a crazy obsession with money, the way it looks, how it feels and how great it is to have and make money. When I was a kid one of my favourite things was to create and build things, I would make and draw everything, I wanted to be an inventor, I think the feeling of creation is one of the best things in the world, I get such a buzz when I create, design or build something that is appreciated. When I started to get older and could understand the way a business worked it inspired me, I’m a huge fan of Dragons Den, The Apprentice and The Apprentice USA I think if it wasn’t for those television programs and the likes of Alan Sugar, Richard Branson and Donald Trump I wouldn’t be who I am today.

What was your original ideas?

Jack: We held an initial team meeting to discuss what our business could be, what we could do. We had to think of all the current legislations and problems which could arise. My first idea was to have a tuck shop held in the academy in which we attend, selling food such as chocolate and sweets. This would have achieved success within the academy as it is something that we would offer for the students but giving the current climate of obesity and the healthy eating scheme within the city this idea had to be given the boot. Although this would have been a great business idea, we had to abide by the rules and regulations.

Danny: My idea was simply the one we went with, clothing. The world today is simply obsessed with what everyone is wearing. All of us who originally set up the business was a fan of designer clothes and we are all fairly trendy. I based my idea on what I would actually buy and want in the world today, something that is similar to other brands but a name and logo that had its own individuality. I wanted to create a business that could grow outside the Academy and outside of Hull.

How did you look to fund your business idea?

Danny: Originally there was 7 of us in the business so we all agreed to fund the business, gradually we lost numbers until there was 4 four us left, we had meetings and brainstormed how we could raise funds, Jack suggested things like car washes in the school car park and ‘guess how many beans are in the jar’ Lee and Brad made suggested we ask local businesses for funding and I thought of hosting a concert in the school to raise funds from the ticket sales and confectionary, this then gave me the idea for a cake stall, Jack, myself and our families are good at baking so we played to our strengths and baked buns and sold them at brakes times in the Academy. We decided to host a concert on the 25th June at the Academy, it turned out to be our most profitable way of funding, it also was a great way to promote the business, and we have since decided to host events as a part of our business.

What does your business do briefly?

Jack: Since we all started the business we have done a range of different things. The first things we did to make money was cakes sales, it was very successful selling a range of cakes just on brake times at the Academy, we originally agreed just to do clothing but since we hosted a concert that idea has changed, we hosted the concert so well we decided from then onwards to do clothing and events, since the concert we have really pushed forward the clothing idea creating and selling t-shirts on the school summer fair.

What difficulties and obstacles have you overcome?

Danny: It’s actually surprising how many problems we have had, some of the problems we face I still question how we overcame them! The first problem we face was jacks idea for a tuck shop which we couldn’t do because of legal legislations, that was a big blow for us and him at the time but we have faced many larger problems since. Our biggest killer was the fact the school was hosting a production, many of the acts who auditioned for our concert also auditioned for the school production, the problem with the act was that many of them didn’t rehearse for our concert, they had to stay rehearse for Sister Act 2 the school production. The week before the concert a huge three story set was built on the stage we had hired, it was impossible for our dancers to perform, 7 acts had to drop out for that sole reason! The next issue was replacing the acts which wasn’t so difficult as we had to turn many acts down but the day before the concert a few more acts dropped out so they could rehearse more for sister act, we had to replace more acts! The only problem we faced on the night was technical difficulties like microphones not working all the time but it wasn’t a big issue. The only problem we faced with one another and staff wise was the stress levels, Jack is a stress head, he was hosting the concert and really wanted it to be a success but there was tears, tantrums and disagreements before the concert but we would all say it was defiantly worth it.

Does working in force-7 inspire you in any way because of its link to young enterprise?

Jack: Yes! The fact they have become so successful down to young enterprise and that is the programme we are using really gives us a feeling that it is possible. This has inspired me to make Kingstone go further and me to go further as a person too, I want to believe that now that we know it is possible, that we can do it.

Danny: It’s given me an incredible amount confidence in Kingstone as now it can be reality if we work hard. Force-7 and Phil Batty has inspired me a massive amount because of all the success he has achieved in such a short space of time. I am now determined to be as successful as Phil by the time I am in my early 20’s!

For the next few months Kingstone has a list of projects a head, hopefully we will be able to host a boxing sport event in East Hull, we have decided to host another concert in autumn, we will take all of our knowledge from our previous concert to try and improve our up and coming one, we hope we can now attract more people and customers. The biggest obstacle we are facing is the manufacture of the T-Shirts and clothing, we want them to be high quality but also affordable, we need to figure out a new strategy of making and selling the clothes successfully. 

The dream continues…!

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Social normalities rewritten

Social Normalities Rewritten

Since watching a documentary on Netflix called ‘Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony’ a few months ago, and then having a real life Brony in F7 HQ for work experience, (see previous blog post), I’ve been really interested in the fandom and wanted to dig a little deeper.

 I got in touch with Richard Spencer, the founder of ‘Mareplay’ (http://www.mareplay.co.uk/Default.asp), the UK’s leading My Little Pony webstore and sponsors of its biggest MLP conventions, to ask him a few questions about what it is to be a Brony.

Richard would like to express that all of his answers are his personal opinion, and may not represent the views of the entire Brony fandom.

N.B. For those who are confused, a ‘Brony’ is a male fan of the 4th Generation My Little Pony TV series and franchise.

First of all, how did you become a Brony? What made you decide to watch your first episode?

Back in Jan 2012 I was getting lost in related videos on Youtube and came across this song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPfMb50dsOk. It made me look into what I had just stumbled upon in more detail. I found out about a pub meet taking place in Feb and went down there to see what the people were like and to learn more. The meet was good and I joined the fandom. I’ve been here since.

Could you give me a brief description of your company Mareplay? What are its main activities and how did it begin?

 I founded Mare Play UK around July 2012 after noting that many people in the fandom were complaining that they couldn’t get hold of U.S products relating to the show. As a member of the community, it made sense to represent them in a business manner regarding the acquisition of stock we were never able to get for reasonable prices. Since I started the company I’ve brought over everything from figures to exclusive comics to huge praise from the community. My work takes me all over the country and I will be expanding the web store to cater to Europe later this year.

It could be argued that other cartoons like Adventure Time or Recess etc.. teach similar values to MLP, and spread a positive message. What makes MLP different? 

MLP teaches values that hit home as many people can personally relate to the characters or situations they face in their own lives. Some of the episodes have serious undertones which can’t be found in other cartoons (cept for the Ice King/Marceline story arc in Adventure Time, that was deep). 

How do you feel MLP ‘Friendship is magic’ compares to the original 80’s series of MLP? Were you a fan back then?

The new generation we know today (generation 4) is nothing like the previous generations from back then. It used to be all about crushing on boys and doing your hair - typical young girl stuff. The current gen broke away from this concept and was created to ‘appeal to an entire family audience’; the show was no longer shallow and bland. The art style was completely overhauled, characters with real personalities were created and in-depth story arcs were implemented to create a new cartoon that can’t really be related in any way to the older generations.

Many Bronies are not fans of any other generation (me included) and would not encourage anyone to watch them. There are however the old school fans of the show who enjoy all generations of MLP but they generally do not consider themselves to be Bronies.

 

Have you ever had a negative reaction to being a Brony? Is this something Bronies experience regularly?

Everyone at some point or another has issues with others about liking MLP. Parents are usually not supportive as they remember the old shows and how girl-orientated they were. Older generations seem to conclude that something must be wrong with you as it’s hard to understand the appeal when they were brought up to conform to a strict social world of ‘boy must not like girl things’ and vice-versa.

People have been kicked out of their houses, disowned, attacked, etc. This is why a lot of people do not openly declare that they watch the show. The world is a harsh place and these people could do with taking a few notes from the show about acceptance.

Have you seen the documentary ‘Bronies’? Do you think it’s a fair representation of the Brony community?

I have seen it and I remember saying, “Although there are some really awkward moments, the doc succeeds in portraying what we’re about, which was the main aim”.

Would you say that the UK Brony community differs from that in the US? If so, in what way? 

 I’m not really in the U.S community so I can’t say much. I would say they do everything bigger, such as cons and meets but this is due to their population over there. More people = more Bronies = bigger events/fanbase.

If you could describe the Brony fandom in 3 words, what would they be?

 Social normalities rewritten.

What would you like to say to the people out there who think MLP is ‘for girls’?

At the end of the day, the show was made for girls. This however does not mean people outside of the demographic can’t watch or enjoy it.

The world has bigger issues to deal with such as economic stability and war in the middle east. We watch a cartoon that has changed the lives of many for the better and created a community that has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for charities. There are bigger fish to fry.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

 I’d just like to thank the fandom for making the world a better place.

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Youth Insight into brands

As a business that like to set the trends, and be in the know of all the latest gadgets, brands and ‘must haves’, we took the perfect opportunity to find out exactly what it means to millennial’s to be part of the craze. Are they set of having nothing but the best brand? or really are they not fussed?

Here’s the opinion of Ellie Lucas, Age 17…

As being part of the youth generation in the current day I think brands are becoming increasingly important whether it is just because as we grow older we become more conscious and thoughtful of people’s opinion of us, or that we are an increasingly superficial and materialistic generation in comparison to the previous. But have we really been convinced that a better known brand name follows with better quality?

There are a lot of products which have worked for their brand names and prestigious reputations, to the point where the essential factors are practically overlooked by a lot of youths, like the durability of a product or the usefulness. An example of this is a young person making the conscious decision of choosing an IPhone over a HTC phone, as Apple have created an image of being fashionable so it sounds better to say that you own an IPhone over a HTC phone.

When choosing a product the brand name is a large influence, potentially more than the price of a product. For example a young person is likely to choose a Ted Baker bag over a bag from H&M as despite a Ted Baker bag being twice as expensive and probably having the similar durability.

The increased use of social media like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook are currently a large contributing factor to why having branded products is becoming particular important to the younger generation. These sites are frequently used to display and show off particular branded products, and since the younger generation are largely influenced by others it has now become a regular normal thing to show off products on social media websites.

Social status is also strongly linked to branding as I think people who are able to show off that they are willing to pay extra to get a product with a good brand name are given more respect from their peers, in comparison to those with just high street brands.

It makes you question, are we as a younger generation really that shallow? Who is really benefiting from this unnecessary overspending just for a brand name?

Here is some common examples that a lot of us will be guilty of:

Raybans sunglasses. £120                            High Street average. £20

MAC makeup foundation. £30                       High Street average. £8

Ted Baker Bag £100                                      High Street Average £40

Ugg boots. £240                                             High Street Average £30

It makes you question, are we as a younger generation really that shallow? Who is really benefiting from this unnecessary overspending just for a brand name?

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The dark side of Vine

Last month I wrote a blog celebrating the Vine-Dad (aka DadLAD), a recent phenomenon that allows the cool Dads (they actually do exists) a sufficient platform to share their funny gags.

My overall opinion was very positive as I confessed that I guiltlessly enjoyed watching the 6-second videos documenting the child and parent interaction (which was mainly made up of Dad winding up their small child in some sort of way – hilarious.)

It particularly struck a cord with me as the interaction reminded me of my relationship with my own Dad when I was young (pre-Vine) and still to this day.

So thanks to Vine something that was once confined to the family-home, is now been shared worldwide. This can only be a good thing, right?

WRONG.

On the flip side, thanks to VINE, something that was once confined to the construction site or the pub on a Friday night is now unleashed and shoved in our faces on a daily basis via our Facebook newsfeed.

Because not only has Vine spawned a new version of the cool Dad, it has also birthed its very vile and evil sibling … the new breed of the British douchebag.

And just as Bieber leads the tweens, we have another moron in the form of Dapper Laughs who leads this sad social movement of British LAD culture.

Dapper Laughs (Daniel O’Riley) is a self-appointed comedian whose skits are as cheap as his target audience, packed with nonsensical gags presented by a persona that fails to be consistent.

Sometimes he’s an arch-womaniser, other times he tells us about his inability to pull, this sense of extreme nature is a running theme throughout his sketches.

His act is continually inconstant apart from one aspect … he’s consistently a douche.

The content of his act distinctly lacks variation; each one liner revolves around sex or sexism and becomes mind numbingly boring after a short period of time.

Dapper brings a traditional version of LAD banter to his sketches, rarely funny but nearly always misogynistic. The way he formats his gags, (through hand held self portrait POV mobile camera), is unique to him, and this is how he brands his own version of LAD culture. His comedy is intrusive as he trusts it upon women/men in the public who are unaware of what is going on.

In one interview he comments that he’s spotted a gap for ‘geezer humour’ which he intends to exploit and describes his act as “It’s just like Lad Banter really, something you would go down the pub and talk about with your mates.”

However I think this is profoundly dangerous to assume, that to be a LAD you have to indulge in the same behavior as Dapper which includes objectifying women, talking to them inappropriately and making them feel hugely uncomfortable (on camera).

Despite the above Dapper Laughs has developed a vast online following, which has led to merchandise, a tour and even a song. Incase you fancy abusing your ears the song is called Proper Moist but I’ll warn you it’s proper sh*t!

Unfortunately, I think Dapper Laughs will be around for a little while yet, fuelling the fire of recent LAD culture that seems to be infiltrating our society, university campus and schools.

 

 

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Ewan’s Work Experience at Force-7

I’ve had a great time here at Force-7 for my work experience. It wasn’t my first choice to come here, but now I’m rather glad that I did. The tasks I was given didn’t seem trivial or just set to keep me occupied, I felt like I was actually helping.

I also enjoyed the fact that I haven’t yet made a single hot drink here, which has annoyed my parents greatly. Many people were baffled by the fact that I didn’t really drink tea or coffee frequently, which was rather funny.

It’s been enlightening to say the least. The experience of working here has given me some better ideas about my future career path, along with various marketing skills. The fact that this whole week has also given me a confidence boost is also an added bonus.

All in all I’d say that it has been fun, and I’m really going to miss the team, but I’m certainly not going to miss the commute home.

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Come fly with me, let’s fly, let’s fly away!

The end of the academic year is approaching, or for some lucky people, has passed. This means that there is a high chance there is one thing on many of the minds tired from a year’s study – getting away.

It doesn’t change no matter how old you get, or what you do after education, holidays are always a hot topic. I don’t think a week goes by without someone asking me how long it is before I go away, but the more they ask, the longer it seems to be taking! Its 7 weeks, if you were wondering.

This summer could be a defining, if not life-changing, event for many of the young people that have just finished their A-levels, one of their years at university, or their course altogether. Also, let’s not forget about those that have been working full-time since leaving school or college; they could be about to embark on a holiday of a lifetime after years of saving.

BDRC Continental’s Holiday Trends 2014 report highlighted that the number of people expecting to head abroad this year is at a five-year high. The report also highlighted that younger people were also more likely to be going on a holiday in 2014. So where are they going? 

Put yourself into the shoes of an 18 year olds who has just finished their A-levels. Wow, those last few months have been hard work haven’t they?! But what now, all of your closest friends could be moving away to various universities or jobs and the reality is that you might not be seeing as much of them in the future. This is a dilemma that faces many 18 year olds leaving Sixth-Form College and that’s why airports may be filled with groups of people this age escaping for one last holiday together as a group of close friends. The same goes for young people of many ages.

What about those that are taking a once in a lifetime trip over a few weeks, months or even for a year? What motivates them to take this trip? Wyse Travel’s New Horizons III report into the youth and student traveller found that these trips are often being taken by students after picking up their Batchelor degree or, in some cases, a postgraduate qualification. Having a cultural experience, exploring new cultures, learning new things and meeting local people are the most common motivations for these young travellers.

So, why am I writing this blog?! I guess I went on gut instinct and thought that I was seeing more and more people of my age going on holidays and long travelling trips than ever before. It interested me to see if this trend was backed up by statistics, and it is!

This also highlighted to me the importance of our role as a youth marketing agency. Coming to the end of my first year working at Force-7, I have realised the importance of having young professionals at the heart of this business. We know and understand what young people are doing, we speak “the language”. With travelling, for example, we understand the motivations because it’s highly likely that we have these ourselves. That blend of personal and professional experience is one of the many things that differentiates us and adding my own input into this is something that I am motivated to be involved in!

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Into the mind of a ‘Brony’

So first of all I think I should explain what a ‘Brony’ is. A brony is a male fan of My Little Pony, though usually only the fourth generation: Friendship is Magic. The female counterpart is a ‘Pegasister’. The reason this is such a popular craze throughout the world is usually the community. The community is such a friendly place, you rarely get into a fight or have someone disagree with you, unless you are discussing the ‘best pony’, and even then it is usually in jest.

There are many subcategories of the community. There are the artists, who draw amazing pictures usually comprising of one or more of the many ponies in the show. Then there are the musicians, who remix and compose related music to the show, and usually team up with the artists for album art. There are the storywriters, who write thousands upon thousands of fan fictions, some of which are rather well thought out and have a good plot. Others are just one-shots with no real plot, usually only to satisfy a shipping. A shipping is a relationship between two or more characters in any possible way.

The show itself is also really great. It has a gripping plot, realistic characters, stunning animation, and relatable character development. While all of the characters have their talents, they also have their flaws, for example, Twilight Sparkle is very intelligent and level-headed, but if she doesn’t feel in control, she goes a bit, well, crazy. Another example is Rainbow Dash. She is very fast and sporty, but also overly competitive, she cannot turn down a challenge.

Along with this, every episode usually teaches an important lesson on how to be a better person. What could possibly be wrong about a show which teaches you how to be a better person, right? A particularly powerful example of this is in the Season 2 Premiere: “We’ve learned that friendship isn’t always easy. But there’s no doubt it’s worth fighting for!

There are also the antagonists of the community: the anti-bronies. They are prejudiced against bronies and anyone who likes such a show when they are not the target audience. This is usually regarded, even by non-bronies, as a hopeless grasp at something to judge someone about. They seem to enjoy judging people, so I can only assume they do it for many other things as well.

I became a brony through one of my friends. One day he said to me “Hey, Ewan, you gotta watch this show”. At first I was wondering why people liked this show. I knew what it was and such, but it was obviously aimed at young girls. I watched an episode regardless of that. Then another. Then another, and so on. It might well have originally been aimed at young girls but that is no longer the case, as the colours might well be bright and varied, but it still isn’t pink and girly. I don’t really make any music based on the show, but I did try my hand at a bit of art. It wasn’t exactly of the highest quality. I do, however have my own ‘OC’ or original character, which is a character you design, and I got a friend to draw him.

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Megan, 15, shares her passion for Youtube stars

YouTube is growing ridiculously fast; its popularity majorly comes from the fact that there is always a YouTuber uploading a video with content that would interest anyone. From gaming videos to beauty and fashion, there is literally anything and everything available.  As YouTube is growing, so is the amount of people who wants to become a YouTuber and make a career out of it because to be honest it looks like an easy way to make money. However, it’s not always as easy as it sounds, they have to be individual, unique and dedicated. YouTubers have to try to keep up with the constant demands from their viewers via tweets and comments which can put a lot of pressure on them especially as their amount of subscribers goes up. They try as best as they can to hide the mounting stress behind what we see on the camera. Sometimes the pressure just gets a little too much

Link to morezoella’s vlog:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPIBS3cDU2I

It’s hard to remember which video actually got me hooked onto YouTube, but I remember seeing one of zoella’s videos on the popular page and being intrigued by how much her personality comes through her videos, so much so that it feels as if I know her personally. From zoella’s videos I was led to other YouTube channels belonging to other YouTubers in the UK. They are all kind of a community and always do collaborations together, helping to promote each other’s channels.  Big YouTubers use their fame and attention to promote other YouTubers they enjoy watching to help them gain subscribers. This helps a lot of viewers, such as myself to discover new YouTubers. Social media also leads a lot of people to the YouTube community, through viewers promoting their favourite YouTubers latest videos by sharing links and spam tweeting them. Not only that it’s through the internet you discover new YouTubers but sometimes it can be through friends who enjoys watching YouTube videos too. The YouTube community brings so many people together, it can create friendships.

The relationship between YouTubers and their viewers varies, some viewers are more dedicated than others as they constantly tweet and comment on social media to gain their attention as they try to have a better a relationship with them while others feel like watching their videos and finding out what they’re up to is more than enough. The easiest way to interact with YouTubers is though social media especially twitter. However there are other ways to interact with them face to face instead of just through the internet as there are events that happens all over the world which allows YouTubers to meet their viewers. These events are called YouTube conventions which happen every year. Not only does it brings YouTubers and viewers together, it also introduces YouTubers to other YouTubers.

With the amount of viewers that some YouTubers have, it’s an advantage for them to advertise brands as their recommendations are very effective because of how many people look up to and idolise certain YouTubers. Many people would class some YouTubers as their role models and this can be controversial as some people would argue that they shouldn’t be anyone’s role models because you don’t know their life behind the camera and they can be considered to be fake as they edit their videos. It is true that we, as viewers, only see 10 minutes of their lives. Others would completely disagree and believe that it is not wrong in any way to idolise YouTubers who have managed to find their success through something that they enjoy doing.  As said earlier, some would argue that you can’t idolise them because you don’t know them fully but others would argue that it’s completely acceptable to idolise that part of them that you do know through their videos.  (More discussed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPIBS3cDU2I

Their advice can be very useful as it helps a lot of their viewers. Their advice varies from products you should buy to deeper things such as helping them go through hard times with their own experiences and how they got through it. Use ‘Zoella’ for an example, she creates videos where she shares new clothes or makeup products which gives people new ideas on where to shop.  As a viewer, her recommendations are great because it lets me know what’s new and trending.  She also creates videos where she helps a lot of people who suffers from anxiety and panic attacks. As she also suffers from it, people are able to trust her with her advice and they are proven to be useful because even though this video was put on YouTube a year ago, tweets and comments are still flooding in thanking her for it.

Viewers who enjoy watching a YouTuber will always want new videos to watch and that is the reason why many YouTubers have a schedule on when to upload new videos. With the existence of this YouTube community which provides entertainment, it almost has the same purpose as TV. Instead of watching TV, many people prefer to watch YouTube videos instead and this changes their viewing habits. I think it’s more common for people to watch YouTube videos at night or during the days at the weekend because most of the people who are dedicated viewers of YouTube videos are quite young so during the weekdays they are at school. That’s why most YouTubers schedule of uploading new videos is at the weekend, typically Friday night. The duration of how long people watch YouTube videos varies; some are only on it for a short period of time while others would only stop watching it when their phone dies.

Adverts are usually just annoying because you’ve clicked on the video to actually watch the video not minutes of random new hair products or whatever the advert may be about. However, the rare times I don’t skip the advert is when they contain other YouTubers. For example Tanya Burr is featured in an advert for some kind of hair product where she shows you how to do a waterfall plat. This advert is shown at the start of other YouTubers videos not only her own and this creates and interest. 

Megan.

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Young Earners

We’d all like to be a bit better off right? I don’t think I know anyone who wouldn’t like to win the lottery. If you say you don’t- I reckon you’re a liar.

But at what age does this aspiration to have money appear? I personally remember being about 5 years old when I realised it would be good to be rich. My Grandma used to baby-sit us on the odd Saturday, and I remember one night being sat on her knee watching the lottery, whilst listening to what she would buy for me and my sisters if we won (a donkey, if you were wondering). It was then when I decided that having money was a good thing.

Aside from wanting my own personal donkey however, I didn’t really think about money until I got to the age of around 14. Speaking to our work experience pupils this week reminded me how rubbish it was to have to rely on your parents for the cash to go out with friends or buy clothes. In your early teens you crave independence and the ability to look after your own money and make your own decisions. Something I hear a lot from the young people I come across is the desire to get a job before the age of 16.

Although UK law says that children as young as 13 can work part-time (unless they work in television/theatre/modelling), there are a number of restrictions that are in place to ensure that they don’t work too many hours or in unsuitable jobs- for example, they’re not allowed to work without an employment permit, before 7am or after 7pm and a maximum of 2 hours on a Sunday or a school day. There’s also no National Minimum Wage for school-age children however, meaning they can be paid whatever the employer wishes.

Because of these restrictions, and the fact that organisations need to apply for a permit to hire children, it’s unlikely that employers will consider hiring someone of school-age. After speaking to young people however, maybe it should be made easier for under 16’s to work- but only if they want to, not because they have to. Due to the controversy and contention around child labour, I think this is unlikely to happen, probably to the disappointment of many young teens in the UK.

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Work Experience through Megan’s eyes

Deciding to go to Force 7 for my work experience was probably one of the best decision I’ve ever made because I have learnt so much knowledge and skills that will be beneficial for the future. At the start of the week, I didn’t know what to expect which made me very nervous but as soon as I got there, the excitement beat the nerve. Every new day, there’s always new exciting task which taught me new skills. We have done a lot of work that incorporates team work and a lot of research. While we all do our tasks, they gave us a responsibility to take over their twitter account and we all takes turn on who will take over each day which was fun and it made me feel like I was part of the team. As a whole, this week have been absolutely amazing and I am very grateful to have had the chance to work here, experience the working environment and learning new things, I feel like I have grown as a person from this work experience. It has definitely opened my eyes and changed my thought on office work.

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Khava’s Work Experience Week

My 5 days at Force 7 have been great and it was a different from anything else I have experienced from and I guess that’s what the point of the whole work experience idea is. On the first day I was very nervous because I had no clue what I was getting myself into it, it was a very homey environment, I was introduced to everyone and offered a lot of cups of hot drink and cans of diet coke. We were put into a room that was full of bean bags and a grassed floor, the chalk board wall was covered in quotes and jokes that I still haven’t finished reading. We were given a lot of tasks to do and were indulged into client work, it felt like we were a proper members of the Force 7 team which felt great. There was a lot of team work involved and many brainstorms. From what I have learnt from this experience is if you’re working in the marketing industry you need to have a creative mind. I have gained a lot of research skills and creativity. It has been a fun week and I would definitely advise others to come here for their work experience.

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My Work Experience, by James

I am very sad that this my last day on work experience at Force-7, I have really enjoyed my time here. It has been good to learn lots of new skills off the staff here, which are all very helpful. When I first started on Monday I was very apprehensive about what it would be like here at Force-7, but it was quite different to what I thought it would be. At the start of the week knowing I was going to be here with other people on work experience made me nervous, and then when I arrived to find out the other three on work experience where all best friends then I started to worry, but after the first task I felt completely fine around them because everyone interacts with each other sharing ideas. As the week has gone on I felt more and more comfortable working in an office environment with lots of different people. It is good to listen to advice from the staff here and to also share your opinions with them as well however crazy they may be. After I have left here I feel that I can apply the new skills that I have learnt, such as collecting information from focus groups and doing close research to gain the information to help you. During my time here at Force-7 I’ve had lots of fun whilst doing the work because it’s a chilled and laid back environment to work in. The opportunities I have been given whilst I have been here have been very good and a lot different to a school environment. If there is anyone else that is looking to do their work experience in a place were your not used to but are willing to learn new skills then I would certainly recommend coming to Force-7 and sharing your ideas with them. The staff here made my time a lot easier by being very welcoming and making me comfortable. I can take the skills from here and utilise them to give me a better future. As well as working in the office, I loved to work on the bean bags because it gave the place a really chilled out feeling. The way that Force-7 engage there ideas with younger people is brilliant by the techniques they use and I have picked up some these techniques which I feel I can use myself now. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here at Force-7 and listening to the office chat which is totally bizarre most of the time, I’m very sad that it’s my last day, but finishing at 5pm all week has tired me out, so I will look forward to sleeping a lot over the weekend.

Thank you to everyone here at Force-7 for making my week amazing, it has been a pleasure working with you!

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A dissapointing Wold Cup for England - James’ thoughts

I don’t know about you, but England not getting through to the group stages in the World Cup has put a massive downer on my week/month/year. I was quietly confident about our national team this summer.

I had faith.

However, after seeing them coming SO close to winning in the first two games it was a massive disappointment when the realisation kicked in, the realisation that we were going to be knocked out of the tournament and finish bottom in the group.

Yes, that’s right … bottom.

After seeing England’s young promising players have a brilliant season with their club teams in the Premier League this year, it hurts to think how they failed to bring their high quality to the World Cup this summer.

I suppose it’s hard for us Brits to understand the conditions over in Brazil, the players had to endure a sweltering 30 degrees in their first game which I think is pretty unbearable, especially for players that are used to unpredictable weather.

Still, the weather is not a valid excuse for their poor performance.

People are saying that we need a new manager, to freshen things up, which I believe is not be a bad idea. Personally, I would put England’s failure partly down to the media exposure before and during the world cup. The media built expectation and placed added pressure onto the team. I felt that the players were aware of the close eye the media and their country had on them.

Despite my negativity I do see a positive in our failure. This experience now gives the young players in the squad a chance to improve and become more experienced on the international stage before the European championships in 2016, which will be held in France.

I think that England have a good chance in the Euros because the younger players will have more confidence playing and will feel more comfortable playing around each other. Also, due to the location there will be plenty of support and that could make all the difference as shown in Brazil this summer.

The team that I would like to see lift the world cup this summer would be the Netherlands.  No European team have won the World Cup on South American soil and I always love an underdog. A lot of people wrote Holland off before the World Cup talking about how they were just an average European side, but in these group stages they have shown other teams in the tournament that the underdogs can come out on top.

All in all it has been a disappointing World Cup for England but I think we will come back better and stronger in a couple of years in France.

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What inspires Ashleigh, 17?

Last week we asked Ashleigh (our work experience student) to write a blog about something that inspires her or a topic that she currently relates to.

She chose a quote from the poem In Memoriam A.H.H. and describes exactly what it means to her at this moment in her life.

'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

-       Alfred Lord Tennyson

This is possibly one of my favourite quotes of all time. I just think the message behind it is one that we forget all too often. Although it’s obviously focusing specifically on relationships, I think the lesson can be applied to life in general. To me, this says that life is full of ups and downs and that experiencing both the good and the bad is better than nothing at all. Yes, this means that you will feel anger, loss and heartbreak as well as happiness and love, but isn’t it worth it? Personally, I feel that a good blend of the two is far more appealing than having neither. It means that you are willing to take chances, to experience new things, to actually live.

The alternative seems so dull in comparison. The idea of not having “loved at all”, not making the most of this opportunity that has been given to us, is simply a waste. If we don’t have goals, or we’re afraid to love or take risks, then we’re just missing out. Choosing, whether consciously or subconsciously, not to take part in life wholeheartedly makes us seem so robotic, just going through the motions, not attempting to fulfill even our most childish desires, to make radical decisions or to do or say radical things - it’s making that choice to really live and then following it through that sets us apart.

I think this is something that everyone struggles with. As humans, we fall so easily into the patterns and rituals of our everyday lives. Laziness or lack of motivation are also issues, holding us back from taking that chance or trying that new thing that we’ve always wanted to do. It is hard, I know. But think of how rewarding it will have felt to have lived your life just the way you wanted to, to have accomplished everything that you wanted to. So many people get to the end of their life and wish that they had done it differently. We’ve got one shot at this – literally YOLO – so let’s not blow it. It’s always better to both laugh and cry, to have both the good and the bad experiences, rather than not to experience anything at all.

The world is a crazy place and living radically will take its toll. You may not come through it in one piece, but any battle scars that you pick up will only be the result of some unforgettable places and people, and it’s those memories that you’ll never forget. It’s like when you were a kid, out playing in the garden or at the park or somewhere. Your parents could always tell when you’d had a good time when you came in covered in mud – plus the huge smile on your face. So don’t be put off by fear of getting hurt or fear of failure. Getting out there and getting stuck in is better than standing on the edge of the playground and just looking on. Taking the risks and making the most of every opportunity that life throws at you might give you some wounds, but it’s so worth it.

So don’t just go through the motions, don’t avoid experiences or finding love. Sign up for life and enjoy the good and the bad.

Get outside and start living.

-       Ashleigh

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The Fault in Our Stars - Youth Review

John Green: A literature Super hero?

It has been a long time since an author has captured the hearts of a teenage audience, the likes of Jaqueline Wilson and J.k Rowling have being pushed aside and replaced with the most modest author of all time. Yes.  It’s John Green. If you are reading this unfamiliar with the name, then you must have being living under a rock, as John Green has taken the world of literature by storm.

As an aspiring author myself, the thought of writing to a young adult audience places a fear within me; we teenagers are notorious for being judgmental and quickly creating an opinion which is often negative. However John Green took on this challenge head on and tackled teenage issues with no fear of judgement or rejection. John Greens faith in teenagers is such a refreshing trait to have, as so many people are far too quick to give teenagers a bad reputation it’s nice for someone to have confidence towards a young adults ability and intelligence.

 Example taken from an interview with John Green, showcasing his passion for young adults.

Q. How do you put so much meaning into a book meant for young adults?

 A. Teenagers are plenty smart. I don’t sit around and worry whether teenagers are smart. I mean, most of the people currently reading The Scarlet Letter and The Great Gatsby…are teenagers.

His bravery is admirable and we should all learn from his actions; it’s easy to stop doing what we love due to a fear of being laughed at or failing. I am guilty of it myself as I’m sure you are to. So let’s follow in the footsteps of John, and take a risk, who knows we may just become as successful as him…(I wish)

The fault in our Stars is John Greens most popular novel, with a million copies sold its clear to see that everyone wants a piece of the John Green action. But what makes this novel so popular? Sure there’s being romantic novels surrounded by the dark cloud of cancer before, but how is The Fault in Our Stars the most popular? John Green himself says the reason for its success is because “people just like it” however I strongly disagree, a novel needs some depth in order for people to “just like it” the metaphors throughout and the rollercoaster of emotions all knit together and allow the reader to have a change in perception about certain things in life and feel like they have achieved something by reading the novel. I think it’s beautiful that this one novel has inspired so many people such as YouTube sensation ‘Troye Sivan’ to visit a teenage cancer unit and release a song through YouTube dedicated to the Fault in Our stars, which has had 646,698 views, and all profits go towards the cancer charity.

John Green is certainly taking over the world of literature and the life of young adults, from an initial thought in his home to selling millions of copies, John Green is a prime example of how through the means of writing great things can happen. A concept which I love! Good on ya John.