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VIP Personal Branding Workshop V2 in collaboration with Stepnell and Pathways

24 Feb 2023

This week, the VIP project collaborated with the Powering Up project to deliver version two of our Personal Branding Workshop. We had 2 members of the business community in attendance, along with 6 male participants, 1 female participant, 2 members of the Powering Up Project and 1 member of the VIP Project in attendance. In line with our Power to Change model, under the power within strand, we identified that young people have complex needs such as emotional instability, unstable housing, immigration and family issues. Using the strong links we have in the community, participants are being provided with ongoing support. The purpose of the personal branding session under the power with strand, was therefore to connect young people with the business community to equip them with skills to work effectively in a team and learn about education options and ways to behave in a work place including how to prepare for interviews.

Donna from Pathways was in attendance, and she provided useful information about further education opportunities, and the entry requirements of various institutions. Participants were also provided with insight into different options to fund their education. They were also able to ask questions about functional skills and GCSE options.

We explored the advantages and disadvantages of a university education in comparison to an apprenticeship. Donna explained that apprenticeships usually require students to spend 80% of their time in the workplace and 20% in college, whilst T-levels requires that students spend 80% of their time in education and 20% of their time in a workplace setting. It was established that on T-levels, work experience opportunities are provided by the relevant colleges.

Donna provided insight into HNC’S (Higher National Certificate) and HND’s (Higher National Diploma). She explained that these are available in certain subject areas, and they provide a more cost effective option of obtaining a Higher Education at a cheaper cost.

The young people I met were from a huge range of backgrounds and all had various levels of experience within education. It was a wonderful experience to get to know them all and discuss their different pathways to successful careers. They were all extremely engaged and used this opportunity effectively to understand their own personal responsibilities for their own development. I hope Pathways has the opportunity to work with these young people again in the future.’’

Donna Payne, Strategic Outreach Coordinator- Pathways

Sue from Stepnell provided an overview of apprenticeships in general and explained the process for applying for apprenticeships within Stepnell. She emphasised that anything participants could do to improve themselves such as attending courses, engaging in work experience and paid work, would help to prepare them for the workplace. At Stepnell, they look for people with the right attitude, right values, and work ethic.

Sue also explained the importance of identifying and practicing values such as honesty, integrity, and hard work, which all contribute to building one’s personal brand. She conducted various interactive exercises to keep participants engaged whilst they actively asked questions and ate pizza. Sue was transparent in sharing that as a young girl joining the work force, sometimes she had to imagine that she could do what she felt unable to do and overtime, her confidence grew. She explained the importance of maintaining an upright posture in an interview and discussed common interview questions, such as “tell me a bit about yourself.”

It's always a pleasure to work with the young people at Leicestershire Cares. Your #TogetherWeCan philosophy ensures that those facing barriers to employment receive a broad range of support and Stepnell is delighted to be able to contribute to that

Sue Woollett, Social Value Manager- Stepnell

I feel like I’ve wasted my time at 17 and I regret not having qualifications. I would like to study to become a brick layer and one day have my own business.


I learnt how to prepare myself for interviews. I would like to learn managerial skills.


I have a better understanding of what I need to achieve and need to learn


I learnt about how body posture is important in interviews and I learnt about the elevator pitch.


Overall the event was a huge success, as young people left feeling that they had acquired useful insights into the world of work and higher education. These participants have the power to apply for jobs and courses in line with their overall goals and aspirations.

If you are a business and you would like to get involved in the work that we do by providing valuable work experience/work trials, please get in touch using the email address below.

Youth Justice Project Development Manager

Chikodi Oraka

To read about our Power to Change approach, click on the link below:,city%20and%20county%20for%20all.

For more information and insight into the VIP Project click the links below: