“There’s some things you can’t learn in a lecture hall”

Studying event management at Anniesland Clyde College, Rebekah, joined the volunteer team at TedXYouth@Glasgow event to gain more hands-on experience. We caught up with the 19-year-old to find out what it was like to be part of Scotland’s first-ever TedxYouth – an event which gives young people a platform to hear from inspirational speakers, share innovative ideas and experiences.

“At age 15 I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease which meant I had to stay off school for a year. It totally knocked my confidence and I had to give up sport, which is something I was really passionate about.

“Over the years my health has improve and I even managed to finish school. While I still can’t play sport, I discovered a passion for events.

“I am not a very confident person naturally, so when my college mentioned TedXYouth, I knew being part of the event would be a great thing for me to do. The brand TEDx is globally recognised and having it on my CV and gaining experience was the main reason I wanted to get involved.

“I was recruited as a Volunteer Manager, which involves being in charge of the volunteers – all 100 of them! TEDxYouth is run by volunteers, they are at the heart of the operation so it’s crucial that they are well looked after. Over six months, I had to conduct interviews, run training and work out who was doing what.

“Before TedXYouth, I experienced discrimination because of my illness. But the organisers and the whole team were amazing – it felt like one big family!

“It’s been an amazing experience, I am buzzing off it! I can’t believe how much I have learned. It’s given me more confidence and leadership skills, I could now go into a classroom and talk to strangers, something I would never have dreamed of doing before.

“There’s some things you can’t learn in a lecture hall. Being part of TedXYouth has given me so much practical experience into every area of events, from planning meetings, sound production to marketing. Not to mention the energy and buzz you get on event day!

“Being part of TedXYouth has opened up new opportunities for me and I would encourage others to grab any volunteering opportunities when they can. From being involved in TedXYouth, I got asked to be part of the Glasgow 2018 European Championships and I can’t wait!”