I have always considered that I have been very lucky in life. I was lucky enough to be born into a good family, who cared about me. I was lucky enough to be educated in a good Grammar school and, upon leaving school, I have been lucky enough to have worked for amazing companies and bosses throughout my working life. It is also true, as I arrive at the latter years of my career, that I feel the harder I have worked, and the more I have tried, the luckier I have been. First my dad, and then one boss after the other, made me realise that nothing is free, but everything is possible.
Today, I hope that I can now pass on some of that ‘luck’, and a little of the work ethic that I have lived by, and encourage young people to grow their own careers through our industry, and our own company. I have thought about this for some time, but I was jolted at the weekend when our young Saturday girl, Adassa Taylor-Scott, was talking about leaving us to go off to university. A few years back, I was invited to a careers day at the local Stoke Newington School. A number of us were invited along to give the Year 10 (15yr old) students the opportunity to talk to professionals from a varied range of fields so that they might start to consider their own careers, and what they might choose to do when their education finished. There I was, sitting at a table, waiting to be approached when these four girls appeared in front of me.
“Hello” I said, “do you think you might be interested in a career in the food industry?”
“There aint gonna be no jobs for us” came the reply. “Whose gonna give us a job?”
I couldn’t help but smile, and I wondered where the attitude had come from. Who was hampering the personality and ambition of this fifteen year old kid? Who was telling these children that there were no jobs? I told her that if nobody else wanted her, she better come and work for me, and I gave her a business card and a phone number. It stopped her talking for about 30 seconds and off she went. Anyway, the short story is that, at two months short of her 16th birthday, Adassa joined our team. She will be 18 this coming December and she has grown into a charming, hard working, delightful member of our Team. Adassa is a glowing example of what can happen if our young people get an opportunity, if we show patience and understanding and if we offer the right guidance.
Along the way we have been able to offer jobs to a number of young people and we have been successful in developing some great talent. In our shops today our customers are being served on a daily basis by James and Ben, two young chaps who have earned the right to be called professional butchers, and two guys who have a fantastic future in front of them. We continue to look for youngsters who want a good, fun career, who want to work hard and be part of a Team. I believe that Meat London has a lot to offer. We are a diverse company and we are growing in different directions, but more so, I believe that we are surrounded by a generation of youngsters with a wealth of ambition, talent and raw energy, and if we fail to engage with these youngsters, and we fail to release all they have to offer, then the whole Country will be poorer for it.
BTW; Adassa is off to university to study politics. Mind your back Mrs May, our Team already call her ‘Prime Minister’