How sharing your career experience can help young people find their future

Edge recently published the first wave of results from a longitudinal study of FE students which showed overwhelmingly that young people are not getting the careers advice, information and guidance they need to make informed decisions about their future.

Research shows that employer engagement, work experience and quality careers advice can not only boost salaries, but is particularly beneficial for young people from more disadvantaged background, helping to build social capital for those who have none.

Don’t keep it under your hat!

Our own Career Footsteps campaign engages professionals who volunteer to visit schools and share their experience and career route with young people in the classroom.  Edge office manager and administrator, Matt Bogle, recently visited Grey Coat Hospital Comprehensive School for Girls and talked to year eight students about the challenges and the rewards of running his own hat making business.

Here Matt tells us why he’ll do it again and why we should all volunteer.

‘At school I loved anything creative; making people laugh, art, drama – I wanted to be a performer.’

Matt studied performing arts for two years after leaving school.  On reflection, he says by the end of the course, he preferred the design element, but with little in the way of career guidance or advice, he was unemployed for a year.

Luckily for Matt, he’s a self-starter and almost by accident began designing on a freelance basis for the theatre helping with productions and working with break dancers. It helped him to focus on what he enjoyed best.

‘I realised my talent was more in design and fashion. I was customising clothing and then thought there was a gap in the market for hats. Also from a business perspective, they don’t take up much space in the shop, so businesses are more likely to take on your product.’

Matt began working at Edge in 2010, but continued with making hats, his full-time job allowing him to invest any profits back into his business. Last year, Matt volunteered to teach six half hour classes about hat design, giving the girls the opportunity to design and sketch their own unique hat.

‘The first class was the hardest; I was a bit nervous. It makes you realise how much prep teachers have to do! I felt more confident this year and enjoyed it.’

Matt’s hats have featured on the X Factor and are worn by celebrities like Nicki Minaj and Little Mix. He says a bit of name-dropping helps keeps the students’ attention.

‘They say I look like a rapper, but they are quite interested and do keep in touch. For me, it’s good for my personal and professional development and it shows the students that everyone’s pathway is different. I’ll definitely go back next year and am keen to do more.’

To find out more about volunteering to speak in a school about your career pathway and experience, please go to our Career Footsteps page. To see Matt’s hats go to




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