Last Thursday marked the launch of our inaugural Liberty Global Future Careers Connect (FC Connect) virtual event, bringing together over 500 graduates, interns and apprentices from across Liberty Global, Virgin Media, UPC Poland, VodafoneZiggo and Telenet. This was the largest gathering of development talent in the company’s history.

We have something special at Liberty Global called the Future Careers Committee (FCC), which I’ve been fortunate to be president of, for some 12 months. It’s an internal engagement group consisting of elected graduates, interns and apprentices across Liberty Global, Virgin Media and UPC Poland, that seek to make sure everyone in the community gets the most out of their time on their development programme. We are supported and backed by our Future Careers Team.

In response to pandemic working restrictions, we wanted to do something to keep our young community connected. We wanted to do something to show our 2020 starters, that they (along with our 2018/2019 cohorts) are part of our pan-European community, network and family.

We would have loved to bring everyone together at a conference to network and make those all-important connections, but understandably that was not possible. Instead, we saw an opportunity to present a unique interactive event, FC Connect 21, with the theme Inspire, Connect & Lift Spirits.

One of our committee pillars is ‘Thrive and Wellbeing’ and the event-organising team kicked the day off with an optional yoga and workout session (hosted by Lozzie Brown and celebrity trainer Faisal Abdalla). To coincide we issued food and drinks vouchers, which we thought were a fair trade for those extra calories.

For the event, I was in a production studio in Warwick, England alongside my co-host, and FCC Apprentice Champion, Maddy Lingard. So as we started the sessions on the day, we unveiled our first surprise – we had enlisted an augmented reality company to build an interactive view of our audience using cubes.

We then introduced Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries, who delivered a personal address to the attendees. Mike’s message was one of unity and perseverance during these challenging times, as well as highlighting the importance of our development programmes to the business.

Liberty Global CFO Charlie Bracken hosted a 30-minute Q&A giving our attendees insight into different areas of the organisation. Charlie focused on the different career paths and journeys that notable senior leaders have taken, demonstrating how there isn’t a ‘right’ route, and that everyone’s journey is individual.

Olympic gold medallist and former captain of GB and England Women’s field hockey teams, Kate Richardson-Walsh was interviewed by Maddy, answering questions from our audience. Kate looked at the importance of personal health and wellbeing, and of course being a team player.

This section of the event was probably the most important in my opinion, as it gave attendees a chance to meet and talk to each other. We had eight business leaders, from various departments, showcase unique ideas which the company is currently working on, from using Virtual Reality to our next advertising campaigns. We had over 50 simultaneous breakout sessions placing attendees into random groups of around ten people.

Lift Spirits
In a later section we introduced the new committee members – a group of 16 talented and passionate individuals who have big things in store for the next 12 months.

And finally, a major purpose of this event was to celebrate our Future Careers community and its achievements. Guest presenter, Capital Radio DJ Will Manning, hosted our award ceremony which championed the accomplishments of the Liberty Global grads, interns and apprentices. There were nearly 90 nominations for seven awards, which were judged by a panel of senior leaders from across the company.

The fun continued with magician and mentalist Colin Cloud, broadcasting live from Las Vegas, who involved 25 volunteers from our virtual audience. What proceeded to happen can only be described as a mind-bending and boggling, and an experience I hope all attendees will remembers for years to come! Will Manning concluded the event, with a DJ set.

FC Connect has been a highlight of my time on the Graduate Scheme here at Liberty Global. And we managed to host our annual gathering, during the pandemic, keeping our community connected. Hopefully this time next year, the new committee can do it all again, but in person and most importantly over a drink.