Avani graduated from university in 2020 with a passion to combat the climate crisis, to be a voice for people who don’t feel heard and with bundles of enthusiasm waiting to be directed towards a goal. Yet Avani soon found herself on Universal Credit as she was unable to find work in the field she desired, despite having a few years of voluntary experience ranging in education, politics and science and conservation.

In 2021 Avani was able to obtain a position on the Time to Shine programme, run by the RANK foundation. Avani’s confidence was low and her anxiety was high when she first started at Real Ideas, but with lots of support and being part of a nourishing environment allowed Avani to grow into her own. Thrown into the deep end, Avani helped support the launch of Real Ideas’ new building, the Market Hall, develop a new staff handbook and be heavily involved in the launch of the new sustainability plan, One Planet Living, “From looking back at where I started at Real Ideas, my writing, time management and decision-making skills have improved drastically and I have even been able to demonstrate my creative side. So I feel like I’ve made years’ worth of progress in the space of 8 months!”

Towards the end of 2021, Avani and her fellow Time to Shine interns began new Mobile Phone Film Making training, in which Avani is learning new technologies that will help Real Ideas communicate both internally and externally. Previously Avani had not envisioned herself behind a camera, planning video content or writing scripts, but now Avani can see how valuable this will be in her professional development not only as a marketer within Real Ideas, but as a way to encourage societal change to improve the chances for our planet.

Avani also played a role in helping deliver a series of sessions to young people about social, cooperative and community businesses that gave individuals’ autonomy and ownership over their own project,

“At first it was very strange being back in a classroom, it didn’t feel that long ago that I was in the students position. Yet after a few weeks, I realised this was an advantage, I remember the difficulties of being a college student and that the adjustment period is hard. Being able to support the students allowed me to develop my communication skills, confidence and ability to adapt to different environments. Then towards the end of the sessions, I felt proud of the young people, and proud of how I contributed to building up the students confidence, problem-solving and leadership skills. I thoroughly look forward to the next challenge!”