One of my favourite things about Real Ideas is that we all share the same driving force – to help young people realise their dreams. It sounds a little clichéd, but we aren’t an organisation who approach young people as if they were a chunk of data, with the goal to get them into employment in any kind. Instead, we treat them as real human beings with real ambitions to pursue.

Working on the Emerging Creatives Youth Hub programme can be inspiring and daunting in equal measure. Getting to know the young and talented creatives is invigorating and gives me hope for the future of the arts, however I’m also painfully aware of how hard it can be to gain real work in the creative industry at the best of times, let alone in the midst of a global pandemic.

This mix of feelings was particularly present whilst working with the third cohort of emerging creatives, which included two brilliant young people – Sophie and Rhianna, among many others. Rhianna is a confident and conscientious creative writer with a passion for inspiring real-world change through her thought-provoking blog posts. Sophie is a feminist singer with a talent for digital marketing and social media.

They both jumped into all sessions full of enthusiasm and felt they gained so much through working with us. In fact, in a recent blog post, Rhianna describes going on Universal Credit as ‘the best thing she ever did’ due to it leading to the Emerging Creatives programme. Just looking at the before and after pictures of their CVs is enough to see how much progress they have made towards becoming ‘job ready’.

There is a big difference, though, between becoming job ready and successfully landing a job that takes you significantly closer towards your long-term goals. This is where Kickstart comes in.

Within a few weeks of finishing the Emerging Creatives programme, Sophie was offered the role of Digital Marketer at a feminist recording studio in London and Rhianna was offered the role of Digital Marketing Assistant at Waterhaul in Falmouth. There’s nothing quite like feeling the palpable excitement through an email from a young person!

Sophie can now begin working in a job suited to her talents in an environment that encompasses her passions and pursuits, not to mention the amazing network she’ll now be able to tap into. Rhianna’s story-like written application impressed Waterhaul so much that on the same day as her interview she was asked to start a blog for the sustainability organisation and already has an interview set up with the camera people on Blue Planet!

Finding a job that fulfils one’s passions, talents and purpose is rare enough in Western society that we need to turn to the Japanese for a word to describe finding this ‘reason for being’ – Ikigai. For Rhianna and Sophie, they discovered this word in week one of the Youth Hub programme. Now they feel like they are living the concept.