MixEd is a fun networking and skills-based opportunity for 16-24 year-olds, which is the brainchild of 19 year-old Evie Molloy.
Evie, an apprentice accountant at Hemingway Bailey, has been given many responsibilities as part of her training, which she felt would benefit other people in her situation.
So, she was inspired to set up Mix-Ed, in order to provide her peers with an outlet at which they could learn and discuss any issues they face in their working lives.
“I was giving presentations, meeting people from different backgrounds and gaining confidence from my employers’ confidence in me,” Evie said.
“There is no pressure at Mix-Ed meetings. It is a good place to learn, and to get things wrong. Then we give each other feedback.”
It costs £10 to attend each meeting, with some employers subsidising their employees to attend, as they see it as a great investment.
Anyone between the ages of 16-24 can go to the meetings, with a current cross-section of university students and property, insurance and financial sector employees. It is mainly aimed at the professional sectors; people who need to communicate well and represent their company. But they wouldn’t turn anybody away who is interested in learning new skills.
A typical meeting may see the young professionals working on a particular skill, on a 12-month rolling programme. They take part in group exercises on each subject, which could be anything from communication to leadership to using social media, networking and presentation giving.
“We have an open networking session at the beginning and end of the meetings,” Evie said.
“The presentation can be on anything they like, and include powerpoint, props and anything else they want to use. We aren’t there to judge them, but to offer support.
“A popular item is our ‘wins and worries’ section, which focuses on sharing good and troubling things from the last month at work. One of our apprentices was concerned she wasn’t doing enough, and we advised her to speak to her employer. She is now being given more responsibility and more work.”
The aim, according to Evie, is to “make us promotion ready. You will already have connections as you become more senior and work your way up your chosen profession.”
There are currently about 10 people in each meeting, but Evie has grand plans.
“As it grows, we would like to have groups around Yorkshire. We are having a website designed at the moment, and are in the process of getting some leaflets printed. They have been created by a 17-year-old - we want to keep it young.”
Evie is keen that the groups will always be run by someone of her target market age, giving her another five years in charge before she will pass the baton on to somebody else. Although she is keen to explore the possibility of being a mentor to future participants.
“It has been well-received by employers, but we don’t quite have the consistency at the moment,” she added. “But, hopefully, people will believe in it more when it has been going a while and they start to see the benefits.”