What is this all about?

What ambitions do young people have across the world? What do they need to get there? 
What ambitions did older people have when they were younger?
What advice would they give to this younger generation?

These questions have always fascinated me. Having worked in a range of educational settings I was keen to learn more about this area. The Ambition Question became an investigative project that took sought to explore the ambitions of young people in different communities throughout the world, and the mechanisms and approaches needed to make these a reality.

Why this?

I have always been fascinated by what young people want to do and how we – as educators, and as citizens enable this to happen; and whether we are working in the right ways to achieve this.

Back in 2013 whilst developing a new mentor project it was apparent that there was much more to be learnt about the ambitions young people actually had. In parallel it was clear that there was a wealth of advice that adults had but which was not readily being shared with the younger generation and so I wanted to try and connect these two distinct areas.

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How was this done?

Between September 2013 and April 2014 whilst working abroad with a number of educational organisations I sought to explore this topic in greater depth. Throughout this period and alongside my different roles, I explored these questions with different groups in order to understand more about the trends and contrasts in our communities across the world.

To aid my understanding, I talked with groups at the heart of this issue: teenagers, students, teachers, researchers, and educationalists. I also heard from other groups affected by these issues in the local community: parents, grandparents, colleagues, and neighbours. And I also heard from people I just happened to meet along the way: commuters, holidaymakers, shopkeepers, graffiti artists, sports coaches and even round-the-world cyclists.

This first-hand experience was detailed on a regular blog, combined with the information I received from other individuals and groups who contacted me directly via the website. Following the completion of the project two documents were published that sought to summarise my experiences of this topic.

Who might be interested in this project and why?

  • Young people: to learn about other communities and the issues affecting their peers in order to develop greater awareness of their own situations, and to gain insight into their own context from the advice and materials created;
  • The wider general public: to understand more about young people growing up in the world today and to share their own expertise in this area of work;
  • Teachers/educators/policy makers: to understand more about the issues impacting students in their own communities as well as to understand the contrasts between different communities worldwide and the implications this has for them in the future.

Who am I?

I have worked with a wide variety of educational and community projects for the past 17 years and have a passion for start-ups and new projects. I am a trained teacher and have also spent a lot of time supporting other educational professionals – both at the start of their teaching careers but also to develop their own projects in their educational fields of interest. 

In the UK I have previously worked for UCL Institute of Education, The Young Foundation, Warwick Institute of Education, Teach First, The Studio Schools Trust, as well as a number of secondary schools. Internationally I have worked in Ghana with Warwick in Africa, in Melbourne with Teach for Australia, in Denmark with Kaospilots, in Peru with British Expedition Society, in Auckland with Teach First NZ, in Cambodia with United World Schools and in Romania with Nightingales Childrens Project. Away from having educational adventures I am generally found trying to convince more people of the merits of triathlon or falling off a surfboard.