2008 Grad - Kashif
The stuff I learned from Envision and the experience I've been through with them outshines everything I've learned from my academic education.
Kashif's group was concerned about homelessness. During their early research they became aware of a specific type of homelessness known as "sofa surfing". They decided to focus on this and to run a campaign to raise awareness about it and to educate young people about the dangers it presented. They presented an assembly to the whole school, raised funds and also ran workshops for year 8 students.
The sense of empowerment. One of the big things about Envision is that this is your project. You go out and do it and the achievements are down to you. When you're 16/17 I don't think many people have had that responsibility to do things off their own back. You're pretty much told what to do all the time and you just do it. With Envision we were told - this is your project, what do you want to do? I think we pretty quickly realised that if we didn't work ourselves, or if we didn't contact people, or if we didn't create the workshops then nobody would do it.
We soon realised that our team working skills were pretty awful: we didn't know how to organise ourselves, how to prioritise tasks, what direction to take or how to reach a consensus. There were so many little conflicts that we just hadn't even anticipated. That was something we really had to work at. The responsibility was on us, but it made me realise I could make a difference as long as we pulled together and put the time and effort in."
After school Kashif worked in the Birmingham Envision office. He won Birmingham Young Professional of the Year 'Aspiring Talent' award. As a result of this award he was offered a job with an estate agent for his placement year at uni. This gave him a great insight into the property and lettings market in Birmingham which inspired him to set up his own business providing serviced apartments across Birmingham city centre.
What did you get out of Envision?
I wouldn't be as successful as I have been without the skills that I learned in Envision - facilitating, managing people, teamwork, presentation, self assessment. You learn a lot about yourself because you keep having to do self-assessment. You learn a lot about yourself - this is what I'm good at, this is where I'm weak. You’re allowed to fail and to learn from that. You get an experience of so many different, varied skills that you just don't get from an academic education. I've been really lucky and have gone to some excellent educational establishments and I've learned a lot from textbooks and classrooms, but the stuff I learned from Envision and the experience I've been through with them outshines everything I've learned from my academic education.
Envision broadened my horizons. I had lived in Birmingham my whole life and not really seen much outside of Birmingham, never really been aware of the different issues facing the world. At the start of the Envision year when we were trying to decide what to do our project on, the co-ordinators made a sort of presentation about some of the key issues in the world at the time - world poverty, human rights, things like that. It was such an eye opener. Until then I really had no idea. At school you're taught that life is all about getting good grades, getting a good job, doing well in life. We'd studied history, world wars etc but nothing like this. This made us really think - this is what's going on, this is what's relevant now.