The Story Behind Thriva - by Jas Hothi

When I resigned from my recruitment job last June, aside from the Masters I’d been accepted onto (Positive Psychology, a subject which fascinated me deeply), I had no idea what I was going to do after that.

Somewhere in the soul-searching year that followed, I decided that I wanted to focus on changing education for the better. I knew that drastic change wasn’t going to happen within the existing system, and so had to come from outside. I also knew that any Programme I developed wasn’t going to be accredited, as I didn’t want to be bound by the bureaucracy and box-ticking which has contributed to education being in the state it is currently in.

After much research and questioning, Thriva Programme is my answer. It combines 2 key elements which I believe have the power to dramatically change things for the better:

1. A 21st century curriculum
2. Real-world experience

For “1”, I have taken on the partly-exhilarating, partly-frightening task of designing a curriculum from scratch. What is a “21st century curriculum”? One, I feel, that comprises all of the elements required in today’s world for a young person to thrive. Everything from basic financial literacy, self-awareness and managing one’s wellbeing, through to an awareness of what one’s options are today in the world of work (i.e. startups, entrepreneurship, portfolio careers, freelancing) which I had no idea about when I left school 9 years ago.

These skills can be considered “life skills”, spanning across personal and professional development, though are as much tools and mindsets as they are “skills”. There is also a focus on experiential learning and interactive teaching, as opposed to the traditional linear, didactic methods.

For “2”, this follows on nicely from the experiential learning - working on valuable projects with their host business, Thrivers truly benefit from “learning by doing”. By partnering solely with startups and SMEs, Thrivers get to work on exciting projects, giving them valuable feedback and also allowing them to go through the personal growth, development and confidence-building which can only come from working in the real world. (Apprenticeships are slowly gaining much-needed momentum, though there’s still a long way to go – and one feels a new name is needed, to shake-off the common, age-old perception of them).

On the subject of university, whilst it is becoming more expensive (£9,125 fees per year; average graduate debt £44k and rising), it is losing its value and relevance in the 21st century. Companies have cottoned onto this, with EY, PwC and Penguin Random House just three of the big names to remove/reduce their academic (university ) requirements. It seems that, whilst having a 2.1 degree helped to filter a crowded market, apparently this has not given rise to the best employees, nor the most loyal.

This is where Thriva comes in, providing huge value to the Thrivers taking part as well as the host businesses that we partner with.

Thriva Programme
Thriva prepares young people to thrive in today’s changing world, combining a 21st century curriculum with real-world experience. At the same time, our host businesses get a high quality Thriver working with them, supported & developed through the duration of the 6-month programme.

Check out what “Thrivers” Clare, Beth, Jamie & Kwaku said

The vision for Thriva Programme is give rise to thousands of thriving young people. Better for young people, business, communities and the world.

Who is Thriva for?
For 18-24 year olds, Thriva is open to school-leavers, gap-year students and graduates alike. Better yet, Thrivers earn more with their placements than the cost they pay for the Programme (this will be £5000 – but look out on social media for discount codes!), and so there is a net cost of £0 overall. They can also pay for the Programme “as they go” – i.e. whilst they earn.

Pilot programme @ Edspace
In July 2016, we hosted our pilot programme; 7 Thrivers aged 16-19, 4 of whom were matched with a host business, and all 7 attending 3 Curriculum Days at the wonderful Edspace. The pilot was a success, with sentiments echoed from Thrivers, workshop-leaders and speakers alike. We are currently looking at the feedback, to develop the best Thriva Programme in time for launch in Autumn 2016 (more on this below).

What’s next? 
Thriva’s 1st full programme (6-months long), starting in October/November 2016 (tbc).
Limited places available (10-15 max.)

What are we looking for?
Ambitious 18-24yr olds who want a powerful, well-rounded educational experience.

How can you help?
Follow us on social media!

Spread the word to 18-24yr olds who might benefit (we offer £100 Amazon vouchers for anyone successfully referred)

If you want to be involved as a speaker/workshop leader, or want to get in contact for any other reason, please do. Just email me:

Founder, Thriva Programme

Laura BillingsComment