The Virgin Media Pioneers team

The Virgin Media Pioneers team

A group of ten unemployed young people from across the UK have reached the final in a unique initiative which has given them the chance of a lifetime – to be solely responsible for the management of an incredible one-off event for Sir Richard Branson in London on September 7.

The Project was launched at the start of summer by Virgin Media Pioneers – the online community for aspiring entrepreneurs – and is funded by Virgin Unite.

From thousands of entries, one hundred hopefuls were shortlisted to complete paid work placements with organisations including talent management agencies, event companies and media organisations. During this time they were competing against each other to be chosen to be part of this final ten.

Sir Richard Branson, Pioneer-at-Large at Virgin Media Pioneers, said; “Now that the final ten have been selected, the challenge will really begin! They will have to come together as a team and make important decisions to create a fantastic event in September. I’m looking forward to seeing the final show!”

Each of the winners was selected by a judging panel including Sir Richard Branson based on interviews or feedback on their talent and determination to succeed. The winning shortlist is:

  • Kelly Ashby – Social Media Manager, 24, Coventry;
  • Carlene Campbell – Project Manager, 21, Ilford, Essex;
  • Kate Jones – Marketing & Promotion Manager, 26, Bournemouth;
  • Liam McFarlane – Stage & Site Logistics Manager, 24, Manchester;
  • Joshua Morris – Partnerships Manager, 20, Skelmersdale, Lancashire;
  • Oliver Noble-Campbell – Show Producer & Director, 23, Manchester;
  • Cyril Ofori – Public Relations Manager, 24, London;
  • Sara Scobie – Creative Lead & Design Manager, 23, London;
  • John Toner – Filming & Content Manager, 26, London; and
  • Darnell White-Taylor – Booker and Artist Liaison Manager, 22, Gloucester.

They will now embark on the biggest professional and personal challenge they have ever faced as they work to plan and stage the culmination of The Project – a festival to be held in London’s Royal Opera House – in just six weeks time.

Every trial and tribulation, tear of joy or trepidation, is being filmed by Sundog Pictures with the series shown online at as well as be showcased on Virgin Media’s TV service later in the year.

The Project team will be ultimately responsible for every decision leading to the final spectacular in September, be it deciding on who can star in the event, the artistic direction of what will happen as well as raising awareness of the day. Each member of the team has their own responsibilities, but will need to work together to ensure it is an event to remember.

The team will also be supported by celebrity mentors and ambassadors and have the opportunity to learn from event management professionals running this year’s V Festival, which is held in August.

Business and Enterprise Minister Mark Prisk MP said: “I would like to congratulate all of the finalists in this year’s Virgin Media’s The Project initiative. An early experience of enterprise helps to give young people the knowledge and awareness of what it means to run a business. It’s encouraging to see so many young people getting involved in enterprise, because it gives them the skills they will need to pursue new opportunities and achieve their business ambitions. By investing time and effort into our young people now, we will be able to develop the next generation of entrepreneurs who can help take the UK forward into a bright economic future.”

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