This month’s blog is a bit of a team effort and pays homage to the age-old tail of Charles Dickens’ Ebenezer Scrooge in a Christmas Carol. We all know the story, and the many TV and big screen incarnations, and given the changes in Futureworks Yorkshire and exciting times ahead it seemed fitting to do our own version.
If you are sitting comfortably then let us begin……………………….
Picture the scene… the team is in our Newport Office with summer holidays seeming like a distant memory. We feel the coldness and bleakness of winter kicking in (and ignore all this Christmas cheer as we haven’t got time for that – bah humbug). Still loads to do before we can all have Christmas off!
Now we can’t help but go into a bit of a daydream when the office is quiet. It’s as though apparitions come back to make us reflect on our past 5 years of operation as Futureworks Yorkshire, and how we have now moved on to pastures new.
Although seemingly awake a blurred image of one of our first apprentices – Evan Williams – appears before us. He is older now and points out that in the beginning there was so much excitement about our challenging and scary new venture offering a shared apprenticeship programme across the whole region to businesses within the construction industry, enabling them to take on apprentices when ordinarily they may not have been able to do so. We set about making partnerships and we are remindered that all the passion for careers and creating positive futures in the industry arose amongst us all. In the midst of the excitement there was that innocence of not knowing what could be on the horizon. What if people wanted different things or values, or what if things didn’t work out… what image would we be looking at now? The past was very much about development and learning, not just for our apprentices but ourselves as an organisation as well. Evan’s image starts to fade away but we all hear him tell us that without us he would be in a very different place.
Unlike the Ebenezer’s ghost of the past, Evan reminds us of how much we have given and done to build the foundations of something really special.
A sudden ringing of the phone breaks the reverie and brings us back into the present. There is never a dull moment for the team, supporting apprentices, clients and each other is more than full time.
Problem sorted, and calm descends again on the office. Not for long though we all know.
The lights start to flicker and just as Mark comments about the power drain from the Christmas lights, a spotlight focuses on a stack of brochures and our Futureworks logo. The logo somehow is less clear than usual and starts to flicker and change but before we can see the change in full, Eddy has moved from his chair and is standing by the apprentice board. Is it Eddy though. He looks younger somehow and has a strange glow around him. He is pointing at our current number of apprentices and then to himself. He then points to the brochures and the logo is now that of EN:Able Futures.
A new name and logo, but an ethos and core values remain as strong. Change can be difficult, says Catherine, but now looking at ‘our family’ we know the change was ultimately what was needed for the team, our apprentices and all our supporters. We could have easily stuck with what we knew, and operated the same, but what image would we be looking at now? Would it be one of uncertainty? To us the change has meant becoming part of a bigger family with Efficiency North who are helping us grow and develop further. A family who can support our team moving forward to finally reach and deliver more opportunities across the region.
Julie asks us to look back at Eddy who is pointing at new a row that has appeared on apprentice board. He looks older now and before we can focus on what it says on the board, the lights suddenly come back on.
We all look at Eddy who is now back in his seat and then each other and laugh nervously.
“What just happened?” says Cath. Helen, have you paid the electric bill?
All eyes drift back to the apprentice board as we smile at the knowledge that we have helped over 230 apprentices up to now. “What will the future hold for us now?” says Nicky?
Just then the door bangs shut and we all jump, but its just the post for today so we settle back to work.
Eddy goes to pick up the post for booking in and as he reaches the door a gust of wind blows it open and Lee walks in.
Is it Lee though? Something is not the same, but what is it? He is quieter and older.
He opens his overcoat and reaches for a document in his inside pocket and hands it to Mark.
It’s a copy of an industry magazine. Its headline “Yorkshire Based Academy, delivers their 500th apprentice today”. It goes on to say that “Housing associations, contractor and industry bodies have praised the programme, which has turned the tide in the region of skills shortages in technical positions in the housing sector.”
Mark blinks and looks at everyone else, who don’t seem to be looking at him or Lee.
Lee smiles and points to the date. It’s in the near future but before Mark can take in the date fully Lee and the document disappears.
Mark looks around the room and receives some odd looks from the team. He catches sight of the apprentice board and the word academy is now on the new line.
He smiles, and all things become clearer. We can all see a future of positivity. More apprentices. More support and action to tackle the skills gap. More businesses working with us. We could have been an organisation of routine but instead we saw the benefits of change, and ways in which we can all grow and develop further.
We are well and truly working as a team where together everyone achieves more.
As we all awaken from combined reverie we a future where we are building positive futures for Yorkshire and Humber.
We hope that all of you will join us to make dreams reality.
So, forget Bah Humbug and in the words of Tiny Tim “Merry Christmas and a very happy and prosperous new year to one and all.”
[Image sourced from pinterest]