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Disadvantaged Discover ‘Be What You Want’

23 May 2013 at 9:19 am
Staff Reporter
Being passionate about work and community has led an Englishman to move to Australia to help young disadvantaged people to be what they want to be.

Staff Reporter | 23 May 2013 at 9:19 am


Disadvantaged Discover ‘Be What You Want’
23 May 2013 at 9:19 am

Being passionate about work and community has led an Englishman to move to Australia to help young disadvantaged people to be what they want to be.

So it’s not surprising that Chris Hall’s Aussie charity is called “Be What You Want”.

Hall is a young man himself but he has already worked for three global companies developing their IT projects. The last IT role brought him ‘down under’ and he stayed for the lifestyle but realised he had a flair for helping young people find their own career paths.

His motto of ‘be what you want’ has led to establishing his Not for Profit organisation run by volunteers working with young people from severely underprivileged backgrounds.

Hall and his team deliver interactive career expos, or Inspos as he calls them, where the participants are from marginalised backgrounds, who are inspired and offered a chance to seriously consider their future.

“Young people shouldn’t have to decide their career on their current circumstances. That’s not empowering,” Hall says while the noise from the latest career expo, or Inspo as he calls it, rises and falls in the background.

“What is empowering is being passionate about what you are interested in and what you want.”

So far, Hall and his volunteer management group; Amelia McLaurin, Debbie Dalziel and Denise Hurley, have delivered their fourth Inspo; the most recent at the Melbourne Town Hall where some 250 young people turned up to be inspired.

Another 15 businesses committed to running fun and practical stands to inspire these young people.

The young people involved in the most recent event came from inner city Melbourne as well as some regional areas of Victoria.

“They all came from severely underprivileged backgrounds and this opportunity is a chance to get inspired and seriously consider their future,” Hall said.

“We have found that the businesses are passionate about what they do and love to impart this passion at the Inspo events.

In Melbourne 15 businesses took part including the Kangan Institute, which provides training courses in a number of professions including the automotive, aviation, building and health sectors.

Other Inspos have included a personal trainer running a mini bootcamp, professional hairdressers showing kids how to cut hair, engineers building structures with lego pieces and spaghetti, social workers swapping positions with the students as part of a role play activity – the opportunities unfold across the day.

“Of course, participation here is the key. Large multinationals as well as small start ups get involved and get so much more out of the experience than simply donating a few dollars to a charity of their choice.”

Hall says the kids leave inspired and a little more willing to think about their future.

Hall founded Be What You Want in 2011 and saw it as an extension of using his business acumen to give back to the community.

“The idea is that we connect existing charities who work with this demographic and businesses who are willing to help and create interactive events that inspire these young people into pursuing a sustainable future,” Hall says.

“The Be What You Want team , who are volunteers, found that there was a gap in the services that existing charities provide for this demographic.

“We work alongside the big charities such as the Salvos and Youth Off the Street and try to complement the great work they do.

“These kids have very real, day-to-day issues and existing charities do a fantastic job of getting them back into education and making sure they are cared for. Be What You Want comes in to connect these charities with businesses that want to help, offering the potential for career education and long term development.

“It’s incredible to see the impact the Inspo has on the participants. The young people involved absolutely shine, and it’s an amazing day for participants and volunteers alike.”

One of Hall’s co directors, Amelia McLaurin has already worked within the Not for Profit sector including a recent stint with Transplant Australia and is used to what she describes as ‘good old fashioned fundraising’ to get the Inspos happening.

“We have regular fundraisers and we are lucky to have donations from organisations such as the Sisters of Charity, the St George Foundation and Pure Projects,” McLaurin said.

“On event days we have a group of volunteers who are experienced MBA students to add value to the experience for these young people.”

Hall says the other side of this is getting the corporates onboard, offering their own expertise via their staff to get involved.

“The Inpos smash the assumptions that many businesses make about young people and what they are capable of and that’s inspiring too.”

Find out more about Be What You Want at

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