In our latest guest blog, Diane Spence, founder and manager of social enterprise Genesis Sun, which is currently one of eight organisations taking part in a deep dive of the youth employability landscape for our Infrastructure Resilience Programme, shares her work delivering quality mentoring services to young people.
Here at Genesis Sun, our mission is to transform young lives and improve social mobility. We are a social enterprise which delivers a series of immersive edutainment events, and our programme is attracting record numbers of young people in the West Midlands since launching in early 2022.
We do this by focusing on the positive; we work with young people and help them to build their confidence to see what they can achieve, not focus on what might stand in their way.
Combining education and entertainment has been the key to our success – a philosophy driven by our leadership. We make learning fun and create a desire for knowledge and, as a result, we empower young people from underrepresented backgrounds to believe in themselves. Armed with this self-confidence, they become better placed to build successful careers and make a positive difference in the world.
Genesis Sun has two signature programmes: Ascension and Sun Rise – both aimed at expanding the horizons of young people in schools in the West Midlands currently.
The Ascension Programme® is built on our “inspire, educate and entertain” concept.
Young people of African and Caribbean descent who sign up to this monthly series of dynamic, interactive events say they previously struggled to find role models to inspire them. However, the Ascension events not only introduce them to powerful, inspirational speakers, but also create a network of highly motivated peers that keeps them engaged, motivated and eager for the next event.
From month to month, we have seen this new generation of talent grow in confidence, reimagine their possibilities, and develop networks that boosts their outlook on life.
One young person on the programme told us:
“The programme has allowed me to have work experience in leading a group of students in the design of the new Genesis Sun mobile app. I was able to help make and plan designs within a group of students. This has provided me with team building skills as well as forming connections with peers, something that I had struggled with previously.”
Another young person added:
“I feel that since going to the Genesis Sun events, I’m much more confident within myself and the choices I make. The Ascension programme creates a safe, welcoming environment where friendships are formed, and history is taught. Going to programme events make me feel like I’m part of something bigger and something amazing, I feel extremely privileged to attend.”
Sun Rise, which is being launched throughout 2023, was inspired by the success of the Ascension Programme to bring our unique blend of education and entertainment into educational institutions.
In this new programme, we are looking to inspire budding innovators into a career in technology, and by replicating the immersive edutainment approach in the classroom, we inspire interest in new and emerging, cutting-edge technologies like the Metaverse, Wireless Technologies (5G), Blockchain, AI and Robotics.
This opens up a huge opportunity to proactively demystify career options for young people and proactively demonstrate opportunities within the technology sector. The World Economic Forum has identified a growing skills gap in emerging tech with two-thirds of technology jobs worldwide remaining unfilled by people with the necessary skills. Sun Rise is being carefully designed to pragmatically teach students what is available enabling them to make choices in line with their options or before moving into further and higher education.
Both these approaches – the Ascension Programme and Sun Rise – are built on our passion to unlock the potential of any young person who may find themselves disadvantaged in the job market.
During our comparatively short history, we have already started to see the benefits among those on our Ascension Programme, with young people growing in confidence, being more assertive and maturing into determined and self-assured young adults. This makes us even more determined to continue to unleash more of their creativity and potential, to help inspire brighter futures for themselves, their families and the wider society.
We are working with a range of partners, both in the corporate space and within the community, to expand the programmes to other regions and to reach more and more people. To do this, we need more corporate support and involvement, and would love to hear from businesses who want to deliver real social value by making a difference to young peoples’ lives.
About Genesis Sun
Genesis Sun was founded by, and is passionately led by, Diane Spence. Diane was inspired to swap her 25 year career in technology for the challenge of setting up a social enterprise due to her son being in a minority at school. He was beginning to struggle with his racial identity and a lack of diversity and representation in positions of leadership.
Today, she personally oversees all aspects of Genesis Sun, from strategising with her talented non-executive board members, delivering Ascension events with her team of presenters, DJs and volunteers – through to managing funding applications, liaising with education and community stakeholders, and mentoring your people to set goals and follow their dreams.
The organisation is one of eight small Black and minority-led organisations taking a ‘deep dive’ into the youth employability sectory as part of ARE’s Infrastructure Resilience Programme. This aims to strengthen Black and ethnic minority-led organisations providing employment support across England. Genesis has received consultancy support from ARE’s expert consultants as part of this work.
“I never knew the absolute joy you experience, working in an environment where you can help to change the lives of others. It’s such a rewarding feeling and I feel so fortunate to be able to give back in this way. I hope to support and remain part of these communities’ live for as long as they need and want this amazingly unique programme. We are designing a solution for a disengaged community, soon these young people will be role models for the next generation.” Diane Spence
For more information, please visit Genesis Sun.