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Raising awareness of autism: Anna Kennedy Online

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I am delighted to announce that tonight I have been invited to autism awareness campaigner Anna Kennedy OBE’s charity album launch. The album is called ‘Building Bridges’ and has been released today.

Back in 2015, Anna Kennedy OBE approached Aaron Yorke a Singer Songwriter from Birmingham UK with the idea to write, record and produce a CD of artists all with a diagnosis of autism. This resulted in 12 months of hard work and dedication, producing a collection of 9 original songs all performed and written by people on the autism spectrum called ‘Building Bridges’. From a small idea we have created something amazing and something we are so proud of!

Anna Kennedy OBE works tirelessly to raise awareness of autism and to show people how much talent is out there! With her successful Autism Got Talent, Anna wanted to extend this to work with original composer Aaron Yorke, who was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome as an adult. They both searched the UK for 8 artists with autism who would be interested in recording and performing on the album. Building Bridges is the result and we cannot wait to share these songs with the World!

The album is being launched on Monday 20th February 2017 from 6.30pm, show starting at 7.30pm at the famous Hard Rock Cafe in London. The album will be performed with singers from the CD singing live.

I am so proud of the work Anna is doing to raise awareness of autism and bring autism understanding to the masses. It is a great honour, as an autistic young person myself, to be able to support other autistic young people and the fantastic initiative which Anna is launching tonight. With a little understanding and patience, we can forge a path to autism awareness together.

Find out more at www.annakennedyonline.com.

Congratulations to the #AdamStart 2016 winner!

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The #AdamStart Entrepreneurship Challenge is an annual business competition run by 24-year-old autistic entrepreneur and Queen’s Young Leader Adam Bradford, it has also been praised by the Secretary of State for Business and Energy Greg Clark MP

Today, is unveiled the winner of my annual enterprise challenge which rewards young people with promising business ideas which change the world.

The competition, which originally launched in 2013, has supported young entrepreneurs to get started in business through a mixture of a start-up grant, mentoring and networking opportunities.

This year’s winner is 19-year-old Walid Ijassi from Morocco whose business turns waste apples into consumer products, employing young women in the process. This year was the first time the competition opened its doors to entries from across the globe and almost 30 countries were represented in the competition’s applications.

UK Secretary of State for Business and Energy Greg Clark has praised the initiative and released a statement which reads: “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and Adam Bradford’s new initiative, the Adam Start Entrepreneurship Challenge, is an inspiring competition to support aspiring young entrepreneurs looking to get their start-up ideas off the ground.

“This government believes that wherever you live and whatever your age, everyone deserves the chance to turn a great business idea into a reality and Adam’s work to encourage young, creative entrepreneurs exemplifies this spirit.”

I started my own business aged 14 with the support of the BiG Challenge enterprise competition and have since gone on to undertake a number of roles in business and championing social causes such as autism awareness and extreme poverty. I received an award from Her Majesty the Queen earlier this year in recognition of my work. I am also an ambassador for Dragon’s Den star Peter Jones’ enterprise academies.

Upon being told the news of his win, Walid said: “It’s such an amazing opportunity that the #AdamStart Challenge has given me as a young Moroccan entrepreneur at an international level. Having received the call from the team telling me that out of more than 300 candidates I have been chosen as the winner of the challenge was just surreal and made me more confident and galvanized to take my start-up, with the help of the Challenge Team, to a global and more structured level.”

PhotoWalidIjassi

I commented: “I am so proud to be able to give my own money and expertise to the next generation in order to help them achieve their business ambitions. In light of the global youth unemployment crisis, we need more innovative entrepreneurs to tackle social problems and create an income for themselves. Walid is an exceptional young person and I am delighted to give him my backing. I can’t wait to see what he achieves next year.”

Highly commended runner up, Arinze Obiezue who lives in Mauritius, impressed the judges with his idea for a youth-led media business the Ingress Media Group. He will receive mentorship support to help grow his business. He commented: “I am very humbled to be selected as the Highly Commended Runner Up for the 2016 #AdamStart Entrepreneurship Challenge. However, I do not see this as a singular achievement. Rather, it is one which goes to the team of brilliant minds who work with me to develop Ingress Media Group to what it is now and what it is yet to become. Without them, I would not be receiving this recognition. This recognition also goes on to prove that we are never too young to achieve great things. This is the beginning of something great and I am grateful to Adam who is a quintessence of who I would like to become.”

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PRESS RELEASE

It’s about how we feel inside – young people’s mental health matters

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Background

The Mental Health Foundation says mental health problems affect 1 in 10 young people. It is no surprise – we live in a faster, more chaotic, pressure-driven world than any of our predecessors.

Alarmingly too, the foundation points out that 70% of young people who experience distressing symptoms have not had the appropriate intervention to support them.

Why am I talking about this? Two years ago, for the first time in my life, I felt like I was dying. After the trauma of my father’s gambling addiction being exposed across the national news and the pressure which came with holding up the family through a devastating financial and emotional time, I thought about everyone else except myself.

We always try and paint a happy image on social media – to show the good side of our work. The truth is, success rarely ever takes place without some form of struggle or challenge getting in the way. Our strength comes from how we deal with these challenges and say no to them when they try to knock us down.

Don’t get me wrong, I could have a life-threatening illness or have been in a car accident, these are horrific life-changing events. Mental health can also be life-changing and life-threatening if we don’t start having a proper conversation about it now.

Through conversations with my doctor, in 2014 I realised I had depression. My thoughts were negative, I had tried to keep going and ignoring my body’s signals which told me to slow down and take stock. Actually, I didn’t even realise that I was mentally ill. I sought comfort from my friends and family but within myself still couldn’t feel ‘right.’

I cried, I was stressed, I was even taking anti-depressants.

In the run up to Christmas this year, I realise I have had a hectic year. I met the Queen, I’ve travelled the world and I’m still working. But my mental health matters. And so does yours.

Please be careful. Be grateful for the little things today and let’s speak openly, without fear and without judgement about our mental health. It’s about how we feel inside, not just how we look on the outside.

Talk to me on Twitter and join in my conversation about young people’s mental health – #IFeelGreatBecause…

Celebrating 10 years of entrepreneurship!

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It’s amazing to think that 10 years ago I began developing ideas for my first business. From one bold step in saying I want to take control of my own destiny, I launched a microbusiness as part of the 2007 BiG Challenge competition in Sheffield, with my brothers and a friend.

We won over £10,000 worth of prizes from this competition and that confidence boost kick-started my entrepreneurship career.

Since then, I have built on my ideas to form a social change consultancy and set up numerous projects to tackle social issues in the field of youth participation, entrepreneurship, disability and gambling awareness.

I have supported over 1,000 young people to set up their own projects and businesses and even launched a mentoring and business challenge in my home town which I run annually. Through my work I have contributed to raising over £1.25m for different charities, raising awareness of causes to over 300 million worldwide and travelled to over 16 countries telling my story, representing young people at events and in political arenas such as the Houses of Parliament and the EU Parliament. Despite having a diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome, a form of autism, I let nothing stand in my way and kept my vision for social change clear in my mind. I also never let anyone say no to my ambition!

Never did I think that this year, ten years from one humble idea in my bedroom whilst I was in school, that I would be shaking hands with Her Majesty the Queen and receiving an award from her.

I hope my story really shows the power of thinking positively, having bold ideas and simply going for it! Grab onto any opportunity which comes your way and make sure you seek support and ask for help whenever you’re ready to progress or come into challenges. Never let an obstacle be a challenge for you, take inspiration from my story and make your dreams a reality. I’m proud to be an ambassador for the next generation, to stand up for what I believe in and to encourage entrepreneurial solutions to social problems in a bid to change the world. Will you join me too?

Here are some of my highlights: 

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Winning the Best Existing Business award at the BiG Challenge 2009, Sheffield

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Promoting youth entrepreneurship through a Sheffield campaign as one of the first graduates of Dragon’s Den star Peter Jones’ Enterprise Academy, 2011

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Relaunhing my IT consultancy at its infancy in 2011 with the support of celebrity chef and entrepreneur Levi Roots 

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Supporting other young people to set up in business through The Initiative project

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Giving away prize money and support to the first winner of the Sheffield Entrepreneurs Challenge, 2012

Enterprising Child

My story featured in the Enterprising Child book to encourage young children to be enterprising, 2012 (you can by the book on Amazon and in Waterstones bookstores!) 

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Featuring on Channel 5 News, on national TV, on A Level results day 2013 encouraging youth entrepreneurship

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Receiving the support of ex Prime Minister David Cameron for our gambling campaign, 2015 

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Meeting Her Majesty The Queen and receiving the Queen’s Young Leaders award, 2016

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Lobbying MEPs at the EU Parliament to protect EU aid, for the ONE Campaign, 2014

One of our best moments when we went on national #TV to 10,000,000 people with our campaign! #campaign #socialenterprise #socialchange #entrepreneurship #world #ethics #inspire
Featuring on the national BBC news for our gambling campaign in front of millions of people, 2015

STATEMENT: Gambling firms face crackdown, 21/10/2016

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Two years ago my father was jailed for fraud after stealing money to pay for his online gambling addiction. Enticing advertisements promising appealing free bets, higher stakes and 300% bonuses encouraged him to bet beyond his safe limits and ultimately landed him in jail after his addiction spiralled out of control.

His devastating addiction brought down the whole family as he re-mortgaged our house and ended up in a tangled web of payday loans, bank loans and credit card debt which we were left to deal with when he was jailed. He had kept the court case and his addiction secret from the family.

I am pleased that the Competition and Markets Authority are today launching an inquiry into the terms and conditions for online betting. My father found many times that the promises made to him by appealing adverts did not stand up in reality, in fact many times he had to stake much more of his own money than he thought he would be required to in order to withdraw winnings.

The gambling industry needs to become more responsible and protect vulnerable people from gambling-related harm.

 

Me and my father are available for media comment today. Contact Sophie Lap at Salix & Co on 07725 555 030, e-mail: sophie.lap@salixandco.com, or call me directly on 07950 313113.

Notes to editors: 

Adam Bradford is a social entrepreneur from Sheffield. He is passionate about raising awareness of gambling addiction, after his father was jailed for two years following a secret habit. He is committed to increasing the support available for people addicted to gambling and their families.

We need young leaders more than ever – One Young World 2016

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Adam Bradford heads to the One Young World Summit in Ottawa, Canada to inspire positive change

Adam Bradford, young social entrepreneur says “I am delighted to have been selected to join the One Young World summit in Canada this year. It is a one of a kind opportunity to hear from world leaders and development experts to shape a better future for our world. I am passionate about the potential of entrepreneurship to solve the global youth unemployment problem and this is why I’m so pleased to work for Youth Business International, who I will represent at the conference, who support entrepreneurship programmes across over 40 countries in the world. We need young leaders more than ever to collaborate, influence and shape the world that we and our peers will inherit. I look forward to sharing ideas and making connections.”

Notes to editors

 For more information please contact Sophie Lap at sophie.lap@salixandco.com or on 07725 555 030

  • Adam Bradford is a young social entrepreneur from Sheffield. He is involved in several social impact campaigns, including gambling and autism awareness. He is committed to inspiring social change, and has mentored over 1,000 young people. Adam is the recipient of a Queen’s Young Leaders Award for his work transforming the lives of others and making a lasting difference in the community. See adam-bradford.co.uk
  • One Young World is a UK based not-for-profit that gathers together the brightest young people from around the world, empowering them to make lasting connections to create positive change. Since its inception in 2009, One Young World has grown in both capacity and stature, and for many organisations, sending delegates has become an integral part of their leadership development, human resources and sustainability programmes. This year the conference takes place in Ottawa, Canada from 28 September to 1 October. See oneyoungworld.com

I’m going back to school!

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This autumn I’m on a mission to inspire young people in schools across the country to achieve their wildest dreams. We always ask our children ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ but that’s where the conversation ends, I want to put some inspiration into the education system and help young people to reach their goals.

Through telling my story and providing practical workshops, I want to inspire hundreds of young people across the UK to become the next generation of business leaders, political leaders, change makers and pillars of the community.

Aged 14 I set up my own business in my home town of Sheffield with some support from a local business competition. Since then I have never looked back and have gone on to set up programmes and projects across the country to support young people to become entrepreneurs and to give back to society. I am one of Her Majesty The Queen’s Young Leaders. You might say this is all excellent, but I struggled. I suffer from Asperger Syndrome, a form of autism, but never let this hold me back. Despite struggling with school, I turned it around and managed to create my own successful career. I want to show young people that there is always a road to greatness.

Get in touch via my website to book me to come and speak at your school this autumn, I look forward to hearing from you!

For media enquiries, contact: Sophie Lap at Salix & Co, London, sophie.lap@salixandco.com

BBC Panorama: Why are Gambling Machines So Addictive?

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Tonight on BBC1, a Panorama documentary will accuse the gambling industry of putting its profits before the safety of vulnerable people.

For a long time now we have campaigned for stricter regulation and control of the gambling industry and we welcome tonight’s BBC investigation.

Tonight’s Panorama: Why are Gambling Machines Addictive? highlights some of the daily challenges faced by those battling gambling addiction, and the pain of their loved ones.

My father’s own 30 year gambling addiction only came to light once he had been sentenced for fraud to fund it, his secrecy had made it difficult to know anything was wrong at all. While it was a traumatic time for our whole family, I’m fortunate that my father was forced to face the facts before it was too late. The reality is that the general public and health professionals don’t know enough about gambling addiction to spot the signs early, and terrible tragedies can and do occur.

While it is important to recognise the profits the gambling industry makes from the losses of long-time addicts, we must also throw a spotlight onto education and awareness of gambling addiction. It’s vital that the public and health professionals put gambling addiction on the same stage as drug and alcohol addiction – we now know endorphin levels can affect the brain in the same way. That is precisely why I’m using my own experiences to work with my local NHS CCG to raise GPs’ awareness and understanding of gambling addiction. I am also running a national campaign to raise public awareness and sign post individuals and families to some of the great resources available and I welcome anybody to get in touch if they would like to get involved.

I am available for media comment, please contact sophie.lap@salixandco.com or tel 020 8675 4779 / 07725 555 030 for interview and comments today or tomorrow.

The Government really is out of touch with young people, here’s why

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At the beginning of August I said I would launch a nationwide debate to discuss the value of University degrees and to explore the alternative career options which young people can take.

For a while now, I haven’t been convinced about the value of a University degree – taking into consideration graduate employment prospects, the extortionate costs of a degree and the changing workforce which demands a highly versatile skill set.

Recent research suggested that 2/3 of graduates this year didn’t feel that their degrees represented value for money. I cannot agree or disagree, as I haven’t been to Uni myself, but I took a conscious decision to carve my own career path.

In light of this, and having investigated the issues further, I felt there was a place for high quality, industry-driven careers guidance in schools and as such wrote to Skills Minister Robert Halfon along with entrepreneur Jordan Swain to suggest that careers guidance needs an overhaul. New research from City and Guilds also shows that young people are only aware of less than one fifth of career options available to them – this needs to change!

We have had a response from the Department for Education, their public affairs department no less. I guess that’s code for their press department.

It is something of a whitewash. The Government does agree that it really wants to ensure young people gain the skills they need to enter the job market – this is good, but basic. What is education if it doesn’t do this?

The letter from the DfE talks at length about the rise in apprenticeships and opening up technical education routes from age 14. The letter also talks about a careers policy focused on education and training providers, parents, schools, etc. working together so that education institutions can inform students about courses on offer. This really misses the point. The key issue here is the fact that quality careers guidance really doesn’t exist in a large number of settings and as such young people are missing out on key development opportunities and advice which could inspire them to start a completely different career.

There is also a focus on young people under-achieving and funnelling them into technical qualifications. Practical options do not need to be the route for people who have ‘under-performed.’ I was highly academic, but chose to study a practical business course instead of formal A levels and a University degree because I wanted hands on experience, not because I was under-achieving. This is really typical of the narrow minded views of the education department, whose Minister doesn’t seem to have the time nor inclination to write back to two passionate and articulate young people who want to make a difference for others.

This letter completely misses out the point about careers guidance and better quality provision for young people to find out about careers, not just to find out about qualifications. It is completely backwards for such a compelling bank of research and evidence to call for key reforms but for the Government to respond in this matter of fact, I think quite defensive manner.

We need an overhaul of careers guidance for young people.

Careers guidance needs an overhaul – GCSE Results Day

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This week hundreds of thousands of young people will be eagerly awaiting their GCSE results, on Thursday 25th August this year’s GCSE results will be unveiled.

It really doesn’t surprise me that research from City & Guilds this week has shown that young people are not even aware of the breadth of careers they can pursue. City & Guilds say it’s a postcode lottery, career guidance quality differs depending on where you live. Their report also highlights the lack of aspiration in some areas of the country, why is this?

I remember when I was in school and told my careers advisor when I was aged 16 that I wanted to run my own business. She looked at me blankly and said,  ‘Oh, I don’t think you can do that. That’s only for those people on Dragon’s Den. How about becoming a teacher?’

Young people need to be aware of all the options this results day, not just the college and university route. Already statistics have shown that the value of higher education may be in question, so why do we keep pushing young people down this path? We need careers advisors who have actually had careers and teachers who have actually had professional experience to be in our classrooms.

I am available for media comment this GCSE results day, contact Sophie Lap on sophie.lap@salixandco.com & tel 020 8675 4779. 24/7 press contact: 07725 555 030

NOTES TO EDITORS

Entrepreneur

Adam is a young social entrepreneur from Sheffield. He began his career with an award-winning microbusiness while still at school, creating interactive IT products for teachers. After facing bullying at school, he was determined to set up his own business, and gained a place at the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy. After graduating in 2011, he became a national ambassador for the academy.

Autism

Adam was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome aged 11. He does not let it hold him back, and supports other people with Autism to do the same. In 2013, he launched the ‘Look Past the Label’ campaign, to raise public awareness of Autism.

Mentoring

Adam is committed to transforming the lives of young people. His work has led him to mentor over 1,000 young people through organisations including UnLtd, Virgin StartUp, Learning Initiatives for Employment, STEMNET, and the Peter Jones Foundation.

Gambling

Adam is passionate about raising awareness of gambling addiction, after his father was jailed for two years following a secret habit. He continues to campaign for a change in gambling legislation.

Queen’s Young Leaders Award

Adam is the recipient of a Queen’s Young Leaders Award. The Award, which will be presented by Her Majesty The Queen in June, is part of The Queen’s Young Leaders Programme, and celebrates the achievements of young people who are taking the lead to transform the lives of others and make a lasting difference in the communities.

Current initiatives

Boilerplate

Adam Bradford is a young social entrepreneur from Sheffield. He is involved in several social impact campaigns, including gambling and autism awareness. He is committed to inspiring social change, and has mentored over 1,000 young people. Adam is the recipient of a Queen’s Young Leaders Award for his work transforming the lives of others and making a lasting difference in the community. Adam is involved in several social impact campaigns.

 

 

ORIGINAL STORY – 24/8/2016

Young people are aware of less than a fifth of the wide range of jobs available to them after they leave education, research has suggested.

The lack of knowledge is linked to a disparity across the UK in careers advice available to teens in the years before they prepare to enter the world of work, a survey claimed.

The so-called “postcode lottery” could lead teens in certain areas to face unemployment, City and Guilds said, releasing the figures a day before schoolchildren across Britain receive their GCSE results.

Well-known career paths including medicine and computer programming were oversubscribed, in a jobs forecast for 2022 using the survey results, the organisation said.

Meanwhile occupations in property and marketing were chosen by only a small number of people even though they may be highly paid, leaving a skills gap, according to the economic modellers Emsi, who created the forecast.

Figures showed those surveyed were aware of less than 20% of 369 occupations.

In light of the research City and Guilds managing director Kirstie Donnelly has urged a new national approach to careers guidance, including employer drop-ins to schools and information about which jobs are needed most in which area.

Ms Donnelly said: “We are calling on Government to create a holistic new national careers advice model that provides young people across the UK with the information they need to match their talents, hopes and dreams with the reality of the jobs market.

“We can do this by giving everyone access to employers in schools, up to date labour market information so they know what skills are in demand from employers and finally destinations data detailing whether past students ended up in the career of their choice so that young people are able to make truly informed choices about their education.”

The research suggested job preferences were influenced by the careers people had been exposed to in different regions of the UK, sometimes leading to certain occupations being oversubscribed.

In Liverpool, figures showed 20 would-be psychologists for every one job, six times more students in Birmingham wanting to be a computer programmer than there are vacancies, and similarly six times too many keen on a role in metal work production in the North East.

Salary expectations were higher in London, where teenagers were also more likely to have had the opportunity of work experience, the research suggested.

Rob Slane, head of marketing with Emsi said there is a “mismatch between aspirations and reality that is the basic cause of the skills gap”.

He added: “The solution is to give young people better information about the state of their local and regional labour market, including which positions are likely to be available in their area over the next few years, salary details, and which occupations are most similar to their aspirations, but where there are more likely to be jobs available. Put this information into the hands of young people, and you will start to see the skills gap close.”

:: More than 3,200 teenagers in the UK aged between 14 and 19 were questioned in November last year, City & Guilds said.

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