2008 Grad - Steven

By Richie Benson

The skills I gained from being involved in Envision gave me the drive not to give up my dream."

Envision project

Steven was involved in two Envision projects. For the first project in year12, he and his group visited local elderly people and put on a show for them.

The second project in year 13 was concerned with recycling and encouraging recycling in school and in their local area. In those days recycling was a relatively new thing and not compulsory. They lobbied the local council and raised awareness. Their campaign was so successful that the local council made recycling compulsory in Waltham Forest, providing households with recycling boxes, one of the first London boroughs to do so.

Envision Memory

"Standing on a stage singing Frank Sinatra "You make me feel so young" in front of this group of pensioners. They found it incredibly funny. It was a really enjoyable evening for everyone involved."

"It wasn't one of those projects where you're told what to do. It was different. Instead of being instructed - this is how you should do this, given a step by step guide - we had to work out how to do it ourselves. That was very new, it kind of inspired me to think outside the box and use different ways to solve a problem."

Doing now

Steven is an airline pilot and is about to complete his training to fly passenger jets. Before this, he was involved in politics and public service: he was the youngest ever independent candidate to run for the European Council. He then spent some time working on the 2012 London Olympics and the run up to that. He was the Olympic Ambassador for Waltham Forest and then the young mayor for the Olympic Village and a torch bearer for the Olympic Games.

What did you get out of Envision?

My career path is linked to the philosophy of Envision.....I remember Nick Nielsen (the founder of Envision) coming to give us a talk at school and he talked about how with our projects we might not get there at first but it will get there in the end, and that's how my career has been. When I was young being a pilot seemed like a near impossible job for someone like me, my mum is a cleaner and my dad is a chef, the cost of getting the license alone seemed impossible. The skills I gained from being involved in Envision gave me the drive not to give up my dream.

I think it also made me become a better person in the sense that.....before Envision, I wasn't so aware of the community around me. You have a close group of friends and family and the things you deal with every day but you don't necessarily think of how you can do more. Envision helped me see that I could do more.