17 April 2016

With Gail’s Grandad, “Great Grandad” to our girls, reaching his 100 year birthday this week, it seems appropriate to talk about the importance of forward thinking.

If life is about balance, John Everton Senior has it just right. He is a man who has planned and worked for the future, always contributing to the growing family at every step in all our development.

It’s not easy planning for a future that no one can predict or let alone imagine. My uncle Phil how is now 103 and remembers “horse drawn ambulances.”

The advancements we have made in technology are mind blowing from radio to TV, radar to mobile communications. We’ve made huge advancements in health and engineering, but I can’t help thinking we have slipped backwards with education and social skills. And whilst we might have a broader educational reach, the level between the basics of maths and languages has definitely deteriorated. Yes Britain still has some of the greatest schools in the world, but sadly they are for the elite. We have never managed to roll out the amazing experience and education offered by the top world class schools to every corner of the UK.

Providing a fun working environment where everyone can learn is crucial to the success of all organisations. CodeClub for everyone kids @UKFast is no different!

Providing a fun working environment where everyone can learn is crucial to the success of all organisations. CodeClub for everyone kids @UKFast is no different!

This has to be our single aim for the future. The next hundred years relies on us being educated. With a population explosion its imperative we are creating a smarter society, one that wants to work together and live in peace with our neighbours.

I shudder to think what great leaders of the past would make of modern politics and the antics of the top men in government around the globe.

With Boris working hard to promote himself off the back of BRExit, politics today seems to be more about the people involved rather than the people they represent. Donald Trump is about as serious as Donald Duck, a potential future president of one of the most powerful countries in the world, yet he has the inability to think before he speaks. Where are the great leaders of the future going to come from?

In business I always look at the most broken element of our organisation and try and remedy it. It might be a cost thats spiralling out of control that needs neutralising or a department that needs direction and motivation. But whatever it is, it requires careful attention.

Why are the politicians of today not reflecting on the last 100 years and seeking what has worked, and what areas we need to improve. Instead we are fighting over our PM gaining a few thousand pounds from a trust fund set up by his father.

So if you reflect over the last 100 years and look at the inventions and the list of extraordinary achievements, be it the first person in space, the birth of the computer, the television, the cassette tape, what do they all have in common?

They are all inventions of people who studied hard and had a great schooling. None of them would be possible without each and everyone of them going through their educational journey and being inspired at school.

Do we want to slow down, or do we want to speed up progress?

The answer to the success of the next hundred years is about building schools. But not the same sort as all the rest. Its about raising the standard and producing educated and inspired kids who are going to leave their impression on the world. Just like some of the extraordinary ones who have change all our lives for the better.

Class underway with one of our full-time teachers at UKFast. Having fun in the classroom is essential.

Class underway with one of our full-time teachers at UKFast. Having fun in the classroom is essential.

If we took every penny from the wars we have fought over the past 100 years and pooled it to create schools that collaborated and shared results, can you imagine what sort of world we’d live in now?

So how do we do it? How do we improve education?

Well, I believe its important as a businessman to give back to the community, after all without the community and the environment we live and work in, we’d not be able to create a successful business. Years ago I’d have answered to a statement like this, with “Isn’t this why we pay our taxes?”

It is to a certain degree. Our taxes give us the basics. But if we want more, we need to work together and get creative.

A little like some friends of mine who do an extraordinary job running a charity On Side. All successful business people, they don’t need to give up their time and hard earned cash to build recreational areas up and down the country, yet, this is exactly what they are doing right now, and it is to be applauded.

Whilst the media is keen to spin that rich people are all greedy, this is not the case and history is full of philanthropists who put their energy into changing the world.

Over the past few years I have listened to business people air their concerns that Manchester and many areas the UK are not producing enough talent. Originally I was just as vocal, but there is nothing more frustrating than watching a problem that gets worse instead of better. So eventually I decided to learn what is necessary to build and set up a school.

UKFast Code Club helps youngsters learn programming whilst having fun at the same time

UKFast Code Club helps youngsters learn programming whilst having fun at the same time

Its taken 3 years of hard work, but its now official, we are building our first School. And whilst we have a couple of areas under consideration where we are locating it, I have absolute clarity that we will be inspiring kids and providing Manchester and the UK with forward thinking youngsters who want to change the world for the better.

It might seem a little left field for a tech entrepreneur to move into education, however if you look at the way I run our businesses and how I look to improve the biggest challenge in UKFast every year, if one of the big reoccurring ones is a shortfall of great people due to a failing in education, it makes absolute common sense to tackle the issue head on and start building schools.

So in a few weeks time when we raise a glass to Great Grandad on his centenary, he can open his letter from Her Majesty the Queen and know with pride he has done his job well inspiring us youngsters to follow in his great footsteps.

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