August 2022

Youth skills app earns Future Faces award nomination for graduate Ioana

By Darren Campbell

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A University College Birmingham graduate is in line for an award after launching an app to help provide diverse learning opportunities for young people.

Former Events Management BA (Hons) student Ioana Axinte was inspired to create the ONE Learning app after working within a variety of jobs developing youth and start-up programmes, including an outreach role at the University.

Launched in March, ONE Learning provides a digital platform for schools, colleges and youth organisations to deliver competency-based activities for young people from a diverse range of backgrounds, helping them develop a variety of soft skills for their future careers.

It is a project which has earned Ioana and her team a nomination in this year's Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC) Future Faces Awards, an event recognising the achievements of young professionals in the West Midlands.

"I valued my education because it helped me perform and get jobs in various industries, but it's also soft skills that help you become a better manager and a better person"

Ioana Axinte Events Management BA (Hons) | Co-founder of ONE Learning

"I'm really delighted and excited," said Ioana. "Having this chance to be recognised in the industry can help us connect with other people who share our mission.

"What we're doing is very purpose-driven. It's not about making profit, it's about having an impact in society and helping more young people have access to opportunities.

"For me, that's the most important thing – if we can build a network of people and organisations committed to this vision, we can open more doors for so many young people."

Ioana Axinte

Since completing her Events Management degree at the University in 2012, Ioana has spent more than seven years working at the intersection of the education system and the world of work.

She has led the design and delivery of national and international programmes, from youth outreach and youth entrepreneurship to executive education and growth programmes for business leaders, pitching competitions and start-up incubation.

Looking back on her time at University College Birmingham, Ioana revealed how her course and her experience as a student helped to grow her appreciation of soft skills alongside subject-specific knowledge – and inspired her passion to support the development of these skills among the next generation.

"We're aiming to bridge the gap between the world of work and what happens in the education sector," she said. "I've been working with young people for such a long time and they're so brilliant, talented and have so much drive and passion.

"I valued my education because it helped me perform and get jobs in various industries, but it's also soft skills that help you become a better manager and a better person.

"In the events industry, you need to develop soft skills – the way you work with clients, how you network and deal with suppliers organising events. It was laying the foundations of all the different skills I've developed in my career.

"Having to actually create an event for an assignment and doing practical things helped me developed the skills I've needed later on in life. It really helped make me both as a professional and also as an individual."

Find out more about ONE Learning on the app's website.

Future Faces: Celebrating emerging talent

Ioana is among the finalists for the Future Face of Education and Public Sector award at the GBCC’s Future Faces event, which takes place at Birmingham's ICC this Friday.

University College Birmingham and the University of Warwick are headline sponsors of the event, which recognises the remarkable achievements of young professionals across the region over the past year.

A total of 13 sector awards will be up for grabs at this week's ceremony, celebrating talent in everything from arts, business and education to charity, sustainability, health and wellbeing.

Speaking about the sponsorship deal, Jodie-Lee Perks, manager of Future Faces, said: "I am absolutely thrilled that two of the most celebrated higher education institutions in the region have become the headline sponsors of the Future Faces Annual Dinner and Awards 2022.

"University College Birmingham and the University of Warwick have come together in a powerful partnership, and after visiting University College Birmingham’s state-of-the-art facilities recently, we are thrilled for them to be such an integral part of celebrating young professionals' achievements."

Read more about our sponsorship of the Future Faces Awards here. You can also find out more about Future Faces on the GBCC website.

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