60 Second Interview – Alison Bagnall, MD

Ali and Sam Brussels event

In November, our MD, Alison Bagnall was invited to attend the ‘Alliance for YOUth’ event hosted at the European Parliament in Brussels. The event brought together large employers, training providers, apprentices and Members of the European parliament to debate various apprenticeship topics. We wanted to find out more about her experience…

What was the event you attended?
It was the Alliance for YOUth event, a business-driven initiative launched in 2014 by Nestlé to promote youth employment in Europe.

Who was at the event?
There were around 200 attendees from Alliance partner companies such as Cargill, Nestle, Facebook, Twitter, Adecco, AXA Insurance, Nielson and Ernst & Young, as well as educational establishments, nonprofits, policy makers and young people.

Why were you invited?
Cargill is one of our proud apprentice employers and is a founding member of the ‘Alliance for YOUth’. As part of the Alliance, Cargill has committed to reducing youth unemployment by offering internships, apprenticeships, and skills training to young people. We placed Sam with them 3 years ago and he has done incredibly well with them. Sam was invited to talk at the event and they were keen that someone from the Academy came along.

How did the invite come about?
The power of YouTube! We created a video about Sam’s immense success and impact he’s had in the workplace – from applying for his business apprenticeship in 2013 to taking up an exciting new promotion at Cargill’s European HQ in Belgium this summer. The video was used by Cargill across the organisation to demonstrate Cargill’s commitment to developing future talent. This raised wider awareness within the business which resulted in Sam and ourselves being invited to the event.


What was the highlight of the event?
There were so many highlights! My proudest moment was definitely seeing Sam deliver his speech to 200 people and insisting that everyone in the room applauded The Apprentice Academy. Not something any of us were expecting!! Sam has grown massively in confidence and to see him taking centre stage was a real moment for me. Sam’s achieved so much in such a short time, it just shows what you can do if you put your mind to it, work hard and get the support you need.

Any other highlights?
Yes, of course going into the parliamentary buildings was a highlight and meeting so many organisations who are dedicated to nurturing the skills of young people. One in four Europeans under the age of 25 are unemployed now, so it’s crucial that more people are involved in tackling the underlying issues and building workforce skills, and collaborative working is absolutely key.