Last week, the Royal Docks Internship Programme participants celebrated their graduation. These young people have spent the last 12 months working for various organisations around the Royal Docks area.
The ceremony, held at the Good Growth Hub within the Hackney borough, brought together all of the interns to reflect back on all they have achieved, and look forward towards the future. Those interns being celebrated included two of our own here at You Press, Emmanuel and Maxime!
Launched in 2021 as a means to help the area bounce back economically and creatively from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Royal Docks Internship Programme was designed to “invest in the talent of local people and create more youth employment opportunities.” The programme was part of a joint initiative by the Mayor of London and the Mayor of Newham, and helped support the interns working full-time through providing them with a liveable wage (London Living Wage salary is £11.05 an hour).
After some opening words from a few of the interns who worked to organise the event, everybody had an opportunity to showcase a video project they have been working on focused on the Royal Docks themselves.
The video styles varied, with some using spoken word poetry, and others doing a walking tour of the docks. They did share a common theme throughout all the videos, that being they were all able to find their own form of beauty and inspiration from the area, and capture it in their own unique way.
As an American intern with You Press this summer, I thoroughly enjoyed these videos, and found them to be quite relatable. Every day I work in the office, I use my lunch break to walk down the docks, past the city hall and across the tall footbridge. It serves as a refreshing break from writing my articles, and helps rejuvenate me creatively. I was happy to see so many others feel the same way, and able to derive the same joy I do every time I make that relaxing trip.
Throughout the entire experience, each of the interns also received mentoring support and career coaching, with Farah Mohammoud, founder and director at You Press, helping to lead the way. His contributions and dedication to the interns did not go unnoticed, as he was honoured with a round of applause and a gift of his favourite chocolate banana bread.
Farah still had some more to give though, sharing some final thoughts with the interns he has helped work with over the last year.
“You worked hard, you committed, you delivered, you pushed yourself.”
For those interns who helped to organise the graduation, the event felt like a satisfying culmination of all they have learned throughout the entire process. Maxime, who was one of those interns, said “my favourite part was seeing everyone we interviewed together in the same space,” and “it has helped me develop my event planning skills the most.”
While the graduation certainly may have felt like the end of the road, it’s only the beginning for these promising youths, who leave with valuable skills and lessons under their belts.
“We helped you to find your voice. We told your story. We created something special,” said Farah.
Congratulations to all of the graduates, and we wish you all the best of luck wherever your exciting futures take you!
By Joe Brady, You Press Intern