23rd October, 2014. That’s a day I shall always remember. The 2014 SFEDI Enterprising and Entrepreneurs celebratory lunchtime event held at the House of Lords, Parliament. As I stated in my previous blog, never in a million years did I imagine being invited to such a prestigious event, with such influential people across the UK. Lucky was an understatement.
An early start with the train from Birmingham (I met my colleagues along the way) before the four of us went on to Parliament. With an hour or so to kill we were able to explore this famous building – The Great Hall, House of Lords and sitting in the public library of the House of Commons, that was an experience in itself.
An hour and several security checks later, we were guided through to the function. A beautiful marquee leading onto a private terrace overlooking the Thames and the whole of Westminster, surrounded by determined entrepreneurs. With a range of champagne and divine canapes I knew the next few hours – much to my disappointment – would fly by.
From Enterprising Learner provider to IOEE Centre of Excellence; I was lucky enough to not only be amongst the crowd but also be one of the attendees who had been nominated and shortlisted. Nervously flicking through the Sfedi/IOEE brochure time and time again, repeatedly surprised to noticed myself being featured, I realised the time was getting closer. Six nominees: when reading the explanation regarding each nomination it finally hit me – I wasn’t doing too bad for myself, and it was an honour to be up against and even compared to these other candidates from across the UK.
Some of the nominees had stated how they spent the past “20 years educating her children”, another with “ten years working in a power station”, then there was me, my first job since school, just 19.
The award was won by Paul Dolman, who after being made redundant after working 10 years in a power station decided to expand his skills and knowledge and become a self employed plumber. His determination after his set back was incredible, and it was such a pleasure to watch him be rewarded.
Myself and the other candidates received highly commended from Sfedi and IOEE. Winning was not the most important thing for me, as I look back over the past 14 months – not only have they been monumental in all the things I have learnt, but also they are my only and first 14 months in enterprising and business, for that I think I can give myself a little bit of credit.