"Only a few months ago, I left a school system which I felt hadn’t fully prepared me for life. Currently on a gap year, I feel as though I draw on life experiences much more than the subjects I learnt at school."
I'm Jeremiah Emmanuel (BEM); I am an 18-year-old entrepreneur and public speaker from London. I am also a Big Change ambassador. When I was 15 I was given the opportunity to interview Holly Branson, one of Big Change's founders, for my then new podcast; I have been engaged with Big Change ever since.
I love the work that I currently do with Big Change, from leading the Youth Advisory Board, to inputting to the development of research on 'reimagining education'.
Only a few months ago, I left a school system which I felt hadn’t fully prepared me for life. Currently on a gap year, I feel as though I draw on life experiences much more than the subjects I learnt at school. There are a number of different things in life you can only really learn from experiencing them yourself, or by surrounding yourself with other people who have – things like how to learn from failure, how to adopt a growth mindset, and how to reach your full potential.
It wasn’t until I entered my early teens that I really understood what a growth mindset was. But once I found out more about it, I realised that people I admired – including really successful entrepreneurs – were living their lives with this mindset, and it was a core part of what they put their success down to. I now believe that fostering a growth mindset is perhaps the most critical thing we can teach young people.
With the help of Big Change, and my mentor Maduka Okeke – the CEO of Concilium Search – I decided I wanted to do something to help young people adopt that mindset. Research shows that 'growth mindset' interventions at key points in young people's lives can be hugely effective in helping them to adopt a growth mindset and enable them to thrive in life. We decided that we needed to go directly to young people to do this which was when the 'Inspire' schools tour was borne. I wanted to embark on this school tour to help fill this development gap in the current education system, and to reach and inspire young people.
I began speaking with individuals who were successful in a whole range of fields and were able to share their stories. I was so overwhelmed with how many people wanted to be involved.
Last week we took the Inspire tour to schools across London, from Rotherhithe to Barnet. We wanted to make sure that the young people considered all the opportunities and career routes they could take and felt empowered to break boundaries and follow different paths to one another. The Inspire speaker guests were from all kinds of industry backgrounds from media and entertainment, through to sports and e-commerce, and the young people were brilliantly engaged – they asked lots of questions about the speaker, their failings and the journey to success.
My personal highlight was when the young people approached me afterwards to say how much the session had impacted them. It really showed how such a small intervention can make a real difference to their thinking and approach to life.
I felt honoured to be joined by such great speakers for the week and as we learn from the experience, we hope to evolve Inspire and take it to many more schools around the country – we want to reach as many young people as we can in our quest for big change.