466 words approx. 2 minutes to read

I was nominated by my Divisional Managing Director to represent the field at International Youth Day. I was so nervous. Standing on stage with the Executive team really took me out of my comfort zone. We did a question and answer session, giving colleagues the opportunity to ask questions about our experiences, challenges and the barriers facing young people today.

I was on stage with Steve Murrells, Helen Webb, Matt Atkinson, Matthew Speight and area managers Erin O’Mahoney and Terry Johnstone.

The event itself

The event began with a session about important factors that affect young people within the world and how they relate to the Co-op. It was called ‘What You Care About’ and we went around the room discussing different issues that we think the execs should be thinking about in their future strategies.

I remember looking around the room and thinking how inspiring it was to see so many young people expressing their thoughts about what is important to them, and how passionate we all are about doing what matters most.

After that, we moved on to the Q&A session. Being up on that stage was incredible. We got to hear honest advice from our exec team and from the audience which was not only inspiring but useful to me in my future career.

I was asked about the challenges that I have faced as a young person in Co-op, and how I overcame them. It was great to give advice to others who want to take the next step in their career, but it was also comforting to know that the challenges I have faced, others have faced as well.

It was a special event not just for me but to celebrate all young people. You could see just how much it meant to every single person in the room. Sharing stories, experiences and words of encouragement, but most importantly, work hard, be yourself always and you can achieve great things.

The future

From my perspective, this event was an eye-opener for me and I was inspired by the young people who took part. The event has started the process of building a strong foundation for something exciting and new, recognising the leaders of tomorrow and changes that need to be made.

Not only was the event inspiring, but also fun. There was laughter and smiles across the room and that just shows what the Co-op difference is all about and how we succeed together. I walked out of there with my head held high, feeling invigorated and excited for what the future holds for young people within the Co-op.

If you are interested in becoming a member of the Youth Network or would like to find out more, please email Youth@coop.co.uk or join the Facebook group.

Rebecca Taylor
Store Manager, Saltdean

Read more about diversity at Co-op here



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Co-op Youth Network