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Youth of today!

GATHER ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old time is still a-flying :
And this same flower that smiles to-day
To-morrow will be dying.

I’ve been going through the entries for the BMJ/BMF Young Merchant Achiever Award this week, looking at the submissions, at the achievements and at the testimonials.

I have to say I am mightly impressed and extremely heartened.

There is a huge amount of talent, dedication and initiative shown in the entries. Young people – and I’m aware I sound like my grandmother when I say that – who have risen to the challenge laid down by businesses. They have brought in new initiatives which have helped their employers’ businesses to grow.

They have worked off their own bats – often in their own time – to improve both their own knowledge and understanding of the business, the businesses’ profile or standing in the community.

They have researched and developed new areas for the businesses to grow into, fostered excellent relationships with customers and generally made their builders merchant branches better places for customers to do business.

These are exactly the sort of achievements that should be celebrated. And these are exactly the sort of achievements that we were hoping to uncover when BMJ first took the idea to the BMF.

Bringing young people into and through the merchant industry is the only way that it is going to thrive. Hell, it’s the only way it is going to survive.

That’s the reasoning behind NMBS’s Y50 apprenticeship scheme as well. As chairman Tim Allen put it when he launched it at the buying society’s 50th anniversary luncheon: “I look forward to the day when one of these apprentice is sitting on our Board because that has got to be our future.”

Well, yes.

I’m looking forward to learning more about the candidates for the Young Merchant Achiever Award as we go through the judging process. On the evidence of the entries submitted so far, much of the industry is in safe hands.

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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