Acton Student Will Be PM's Global Fellow
School leaver embarks on trip to China after chance encounter
Local school leaver Alastair Shipman, aged 18, will be travelling to China as one of the Prime Minister’s Global Fellows - a programme designed to reward outstanding talent and enterprise among young people.
Alastair, who lives in Acton, is one of only 100 amazing young people taking part. He said, “I found out about the fellowship from one of the previous Fellows, on a chance meeting during a Warwick University open day, and immediately started finding out about it. The application process was quite tough, but I think that the two years I spent at the Youth2Youth helpline (based in Acton) helped a lot. Since then I have been looking forward to it, especially the learning about a foreign culture and language.
"In this day and age, it is really important for young people to take the opportunities offered to them, and so I am really grateful for this chance to work and study in China, especially during this time of expansion for the country.
"Also, having seen the other Fellows going to China, Brazil and India, I am really looking forward to developing lasting friendships, and having experiences that will be of use to me throughout my life.“
Alastair told ActonW3.com that the selection process for winning his place was a tough one - there were around 400 applications in all. He enjoyed meeting the other candidates over the three interview days.
One of the conditions of winning the award is to spread the word, which Alastair is delighted to do - it is clear to see that he is fizzing with enthusiasm for the trip, which starts with a 26 hour flight to Beijing later this month.
The Global Fellowship has been designed to give young people an introduction to the tiger economies of Brazil, India and China to understand the social economic and environmental issues posed by rapid global change. During his time in China, Alastair will spend two weeks on a cultural programme learning about the life and language of China, two weeks in a school or college teaching English and completing a research project with Chinese students, and finally spend two weeks with an international company, experiencing first-hand how the global economy works.
Alastair says: "I'm really looking forward to learning all about China and to getting to know the other candidates. During the time I spend in Shanghai I will be working for GKN, an engineering company." He hopes to study Engineering at Oxford.
After they return to Britain the Global Fellows are expected to share their experiences and play an active role in encouraging other young people to take an interest in enterprise. All one hundred will meet again in November at a reception with the Prime Minister.
The programme is funded by the Department for Children, Schools and Families and managed by the British Council and is supported by major international companies including HSBC, Shell and Virgin.
Commenting on the Global Fellowship, Lucy Parker, Chair of Talent and Enterprise Taskforce said: “The 100 young people who have been selected have demonstrated outstanding talent and potential. In today’s fast changing world, it is vital the young people in Britain get the chance to understand the global arena they will live and work in. The Fellowship is an innovative programme that gives 18 and 19 year olds from all over England the opportunity to experience close up, life in major countries driving the new global economy.”
July 8, 2009