Last night I was with friends, drinking wine and plotting a Halloween party for our kids. I joked that although I speak to my mother regularly about my work, she has no idea what I actually do, and what Spark+Mettle actually does. They laughed. It was awkward laughter. One by one, they confessed that they have no idea what I actually do either.
I hate jargon and gobbledeegook, but clearly I’ve done an abysmal job of explaining myself. People get the rough parameters of my work, but have no real sense of what I do, or what Spark+Mettle does. Hashtag epic fail.
I know a lot of people who moonlight in between sectors and who explore new paths and who are used to the nodding-head-plus-furrowed-brow that beneficent listeners adopt when hearing about their work.
I saw a good question yesterday from the #growthincities conference organised by Nesta in Birimingham: “Describe your job in six words to a cab driver.”
- I help 18-24 year olds to flourish
- I broker new opportunities for young people
- I teach strengths and skills through tech
All too wishy-washy, too vague. I’ve got a way to go. In the meantime, I’ll try to compose a paragraph my old ma can grapple (and repeat).
Spark+Mettle is an online youth organisation that helps marginalised young jobseekers to achieve their aspirations and find work they love.
It does this by:
- running a six-month leadership development programme for a small number of determined young people.
- hosting a web-based platform that helps thousands of young people to showcase their strengths and skills to employers, while helping employers find and train talented youth who might otherwise have slipped through their net.
- providing knowledge and resources about the best practices for developing character strengths and soft skills to schools, youth organisations and businesses.
Spark+Mettle believes that by building character strengths, soft skills and networks, young people will be much better equipped to be successful in both work and life.
Now I’m going to go back to the six-word question.
I help launch young people’s dream careers.