“I want to be a…”

15 Aug

At the end of the month, you’re going to be reading in Safety Management about the successful relaunch of our Speak Up, Stay Safe campaign.

Big message

On a sunny day at the beginning of August, we set up stall at the Underage Festival in Victoria Park, east London. We were bombarded with young visitors for eight hours who wanted to talk to us about what we were doing and the movement we were starting. They also had the chance to star in our Polaroid Wall of Fame by having their photos taken, signing them and adding them to the wall in a pledge to get stuck into the campaign and follow us on our sites on Twitter and Facebook. Visitors could also get their hands on guitar plectrums, mirrors, badges and postcards, all with our cool design which had been chosen from those created by young people who attended our Youth Action Day in May.

We talked to the teenagers, ranging in ages from 13-17 about their work experience, what they wanted to work in, study or at least have a go at.

Young people crowd in to get their hands on Speak Up, Stay Safe freebies

“I want to be a vet.”

“He’s going to study graphic design.”

“I’ve already worked two years in a restaurant.”

“I tried working at a stable for work experience, but want to be a dentist.”

“I work in a shop every weekend.”

These kids were proud to have a job or at least know what they were going to aim for in life. If they didn’t know, they were still keen even thinking about the world of work. The older ones among us might grumble on about how kids can’t wait to grow up these days…

But I had so many conversations with young people who were excited to talk about work, their work experience, or what they wanted to do after school/college/university.

I made them talk about injuries or risks at work and talked to them about how they look after each other at festivals and out and about: that, it’s taking that attitude into the workplace, so that they keep themselves and others safe.

They were up for it, and some showed their energy and creativity by entering our competition. They had to take some of our goodies and use them in a photo or video to somehow get our campaign message across. One girl covered herself in our top tips card to emphasise the point…

Getting into the campaign

The point I got from it all was the pride and dedication a lot of these kids already have to their future careers and the notion of staying safe in them. That’s not to say these future workers will never come unstuck in their workplaces, but if they think back to 2011 and that hot day in Victoria Park, they might just remember the rule:



2 Responses to ““I want to be a…””

  1. Nigel Bryson August 16, 2011 at 10:21 am #


    It is heartening to read of the positive response you had from young people to the BSC Speak Up, Stay Safe initiative. Given the negative press plastered all over the media this last few weeks, it is useful to be reminded that the vast majority of the 4.4 million 13 – 19 year olds were not rampaging through the streets of some major cities. Capturing the enthusiasm and energy of young people should be something all those involved with health and safety actively support. Good luck with the re-launch of this worthwhile initiative.

    Nigel Bryson

    • Laura Milsom August 25, 2011 at 8:51 am #


      Thanks for your comments, and you’re right: it’s a good reminder of the positive contrubution our youth make to society and workplaces now towards a better and safer future. Our Speak Up, Stay Safe campaign is a part of that and we’ll be working hard to get the message out to more young people this year.


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