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An interview with Rioch Edwards-Brown, Social Entrepreneur and inspiration…

Katie Hopkins, formally an Apprentice finalist has a reputation for “Telling it like it is”, as she proudly highlights on her own website. Last week she caused an uproar for stating that the unemployed should be ‘creamed and parked’ on Radio 5 Live, and that we should be creaming off the talented unemployed and for the time being, ‘park’ the rest. Strong stuff and her comments rightly caused an outrage.

There is obviously some truth in terms of her comments, in that everyone involved in recruitment understands that you always want to try to find the best candidate for the job. However her disregard and lack of understanding on how her comments may come across, says a lot. If finding talent, means disregarding the majority, then as a society we should count ourselves out of this elitist approach.

Also, who is it for us, or her, to judge what Talent is? We should all be encouraged to find our own talent. This leads us nicely on to our interview with Rioch Edwards Brown, a lady who whilst previously facing personal and financial challenges, has risen up, not only to face her own issues, but help others to find their own talents. Some people, like to go onto TV and Radio and talk about what should be done, and others, namely Rioch, just do it. So without further ado, please see below our inspirational interview with Rioch and lets celebrate real intention (without unnecessary sound-bite may I add!)

Which of the below is true?

Rioch’s husband was made redundant. Her son was shot and stabbed in school. Her husband, from the stress it caused, had a breakdown. Rioch was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Rioch was accused of causing shaken baby syndrome and had to fight to clear both her and her husbands names.

I think you can guess, all of the above are true. What is also true is that;

Using the experience of her sons stabbing at school, she set up a Social Enterprise to motivate the disadvantaged in society to look at the Media for a career. Facing the injustice of being accused of Shaken Baby Syndrome she set up a 24 hour service, ‘The Five Percenters’ which she has helped to run for 15 years, for free, to help others facing a similar situation to their own. She has had a good career in TV and uses her own work experience to motivate others.

So with this in mind, I was keen to explore how she has managed to even keep one foot on the ground, never mind two, throughout all the personal challenges she and all of her family have had to face?

Rioch said that she has always had a mindset that you have to face the challenges you are given. Faced with the doctrine she believed in, it was simply a case of “do or die” and I had to “face up to the reality I was in” and “here was the deal, sink or swim, I chose to swim.”

Each time, Rioch and her family have been able to face the challenge they have been hit with. Having a son who they are accused of physically abusing, aged 3 months, and then aged 15, stabbed and shot in school, the challenges cannot have been much more serious, and one wonders where Rioch and her husband found the strength. More telling is that on both occasions she was able to turn a negative into a positive. “I have to mindset of a 60′s kid, born and breed in Peckham” and faced with the obvious whispering, you would face, her attitude has been “it doesn’t matter where you are going, it’s where you need to go”and she has “totally ignored any negativity” that she has been faced with.

Talking of a situation you are faced with, the moment she was told why one of the accused had shot and stabbed her son, even took her surprise. The reason given was that he hated her son for having two parents at home. Coming from a family of two parents, has never been a crime, but to this disfranchised youngster, a justifiable reason to take part in the assault. She recalls at that moment, “I felt like I could just sink to the floor, but managed to hold myself together for my Son.” Her son managed to move on from the ordeal and Rioch feels that society, believes that those faced with a rough deal in life are “written off” and psychologically damaged” by their experiences. Unlike Katie Hopkins who would probably believe these people should be “parked”, Rioch took it upon herself to help prove people wrong and “So You Wanna Be In TV?” was born.

So You Wanna Be in TV? provides diverse candidates for training schemes, work experience and jobs at entry-level in the Media industry. They also run diversity training programmes for management and HR departments. They also mentor candidates towards higher education. Those whose career path is not TV, are signposted into other industries, community projects, work experience and further education better suited to their talents.  

They source ethnic minorities, white working class, disabled, unemployed, young people in school or excluded from mainstream education, college/university students, ex-offenders and those in care aged 14 – 40. Historically some of these groups find it hard to get experience within the media industry. I suppose some of these groups are often rejected as being ‘passed help’ and Rioch is keen to stress that “whilst we all have our own personal stories, some people have never had the instruction to find their talent” and perhaps with this in mind, a note to Katie Hopkins, that ‘parking’ the problem, as she see’s it, only avoids the issues that we all face.

We at TheEmployable agree with Rioch and think that she is an inspiration to us all, in turning the issues we all face, into a series of positive projects and Rioch should be roundly celebrated.

Please take some time out to look at both The 5 Percenters and So You Wanna be in TV? websites and we wish Rioch and her family all the best for the future.

Contact Rioch: info@soyouwannabeintv.com or Twitter @sywbitv

If you are looking to start your own business, think you have a creative idea or you are a self starting business champion then find out more about Startacus the online community celebrating the self starter – launching soon…


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