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Ellie Long is an experienced early careers leader and most recently, the creator and host of the HY Up Podcast series. This Global Entrepreneurship Week, we hear about how she supports young people by giving practical advice and sharing inspiring stories on her podcast series.  Podcast host

Supporting young people

I have worked in human resources, early careers, diversity and recruitment roles since I finished my degree and have always been passionate about supporting young people to reach their potential. Young people are the future of a business – a real opportunity to bring in diversity of thought and bridge the skills gaps many organisations have.

Those who know me well will know that social mobility and supporting young people from disadvantaged backgrounds is an important part of my purpose. I believe that low social mobility is one of the biggest challenges we face in British society today. I wanted to be part of the force working to close the gap, level the playing field and helping raise young peoples’ aspirations. Fast forward through many coffee and cake dates with my husband debating various ideas and the HY Up Podcast was born.

HY Up Podcast - ‘being the role model you always needed’

I am a huge believer that if you work hard and take support from those around you, you can achieve anything. What I have seen through my early careers work is that young people need to hear more from people like them about how they did it, how they challenged the stereotypes and what they did when they felt like nothing was going to plan.

Role models are so important, and we can all be a role model to those around us. So, the HY Up Podcast was born from the idea of ‘being the role model you always needed’. No matter what somebody’s background or ambition our podcast aims to connect young people with amazing people just like them.

The style of the podcast is light-hearted, whilst capturing the stories of inspiring young people from all walks of life. No subject is off topic, and episodes talk about everything from apprenticeships and going off to Uni, to breaking stereotypes around certain careers and industries.

The first 6 episodes feature 8 young professionals discussing their career journeys including being Black in Finance, degree apprenticeships, women in STEM, setting up a business, funding yourself through university, being a care leaver and wellbeing. Following these episodes, future topics include setting up a property business, breaking the stereotypes around what success is defined as, being openly LGBT+ in the workplace and turning your hobbies and interests into a successful career.

The aim is to show young people there is no one route to success. You can create your own career path, it can change and adapt, and you can break the stereotypes to be whoever you want to be.

Giving young people practical advice

I spent a lot of time working on the structure of the podcast to make sure it didn’t feel corporate or like a school resource. The podcast is something you can listen too whilst tidying your room, on the bus, with some friends or on a Sunday afternoon with a cup of tea. It creates topics of debate that teachers can pick up on or that young people can have via our social media channels.

The light-hearted nature was very important, so you’ll hear silly questions such as your favourite pizza topping or karaoke song of choice mixed in with questions about stereotypes and overcoming adversity. Each episode also ends with the ‘super important last question’, which is an interview question, typical to a graduate or apprentice interview that the guests discuss to give the young people listening practical advice.

Whilst it has been a lot of long weekends of editing, branding, and communications out to school, the best part for me has been talking to some fantastic young people. From making me laugh out loud to real reflection, every guest gives practical advice, honest accounts of their challenges and openly tells it how it is to engage young people in what can sometimes be a dry, corporate subject – careers advice!

Achievements

In the first 2 weeks we’ve hit nearly 500 listeners and are growing our social media presence and engagement with schools and universities. I’ve had some amazing conversations with teachers, careers advisers and charities about how we can continue to spread the word and share with as many young people as possible.

I am currently working with The Careers & Enterprise Company to include the podcast as part of their schools Resource Directory. What has surprised me the most is how many people of all ages and backgrounds have said we need to talk more raising aspirations and showing young people there is no one definition of success.

I hope this podcast is one step closer to showing the fantastic next generation that they can achieve whatever goals, careers or accolades they set their sights on. 

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