2002 Grad - Dan

Dan graduated from Envision in London in 2002   -  By Thom Flint

"I initially wanted to go and do architecture or be an engineer, then I did Envision and that completely shifted.

I think that the underlying philosophy of Envision, this idea of getting a small group of people together and empowering them to make the world a better place by giving them inspiration, coaching and a framework in which to take action has underpinned everything that I’ve done afterwards. It’s been the model of change that I’ve used in most, if not all of the jobs that I’ve worked in.

I used it to found the climate change movement 10:10 and grow it to a base of 130,000 people, people, businesses and organisations. I used it to set up Solar Schools a renewables crowd funding platform for schools.  And I'm still using it in my role as New Economics Foundation where I am the Lead Organiser of the New Economy Organisers Network, a network for civil society campaigners.

Given the living standards crisis that we face at the moment where it’s incredibly difficult for young people to get jobs, where it’s more expensive for them to go to university, and where we’re told that climate change and all these things are going to continue to get worse, it’s incredibly important that we train and give opportunities to young people to learn that they can make a difference in the world. 

The role of Envision is more important than it has ever been.

Young people are incredibly patronised today, so Envision’s approach of going in and allowing people to say ‘what do we want to improve in our community? How can we make this world a better place?’, THAT is absolutely crucial for building the autonomy, and the self-critical nature that we want in young people.

 I only wish that more people could have the opportunity to go through what I did.

I was on the very first Envision pilot scheme at King Alfred’s school over 10 years ago now. All of the other programmes that you could do at school were incredibly directive and then Envision came in and they said ‘what are you interested in changing? We’ll help you do it, let’s get started’. Giving that opportunity to people at that stage in their life when they’ve never had the chance to shape something like a project before is incredibly rewarding and inspirational.

I’d been part of the scouts and I’d done other some sort-of after-school-ey kind of activities, but Envision was the first thing that said ‘what d’you wanna change? 

Someone that’s able to think for themselves, has proven that they can make change happen, and has demonstrated that they have the ability to get up and change the world, that’s obviously the kind of skills you need to get jobs in all sorts of sectors.On the skills front, it teaches you how to speak in public, how to negotiate with people to get changes that you want passed, and also how to look at a situation and analyse it. So, what does this school need that it doesn’t have, or this community need that it doesn’t have? There’s just a huge range of skills that go along with this kind of self-organisation.

From a personal perspective, its given me confidence in my ability to make a difference and make a change. It showed me that I really wanted to work on social justice issues and basically I’ve done that ever since Envision. It definitely helped set me up on a path to work on social justice and I’m really grateful for it.