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Nicholas Rowland: Early Career Support to Young People Around the World

Nicholas Rowland: Early Career Support to Young People Around the World


Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and an online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs.

Spiffy here with the scoop on the entrepreneurial leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Nick Rowland, the Senior Manager for Selection of Rise/Rhodes Trust. Let’s learn about what’s happening there and how Nick is making a positive impact in the world.

Spiffy: Hi Nick, thanks a million for talking to me today. Tell me, what challenge are you addressing through Rise/Rhodes Trust?

Nick: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! Rise looks to provide early career support to young people across the world. The program is keen to support those that show a desire to forge positive change in their communities, and helps them by providing opportunity to education, skills development, innovation funding, and an exciting global community.

Spiffy: That sounds awesome! What motivated you to do it?

Nick: My role is to seek out the best young people who apply to the program. They are diverse; they see the world in different ways, but all have a common notion to improve things. Some of them demonstrate brilliant technical understanding of a very specific need, others use their skills to highlight wide-reaching, complex issues that are not confined within borders. As a teenager, I had a transformative experience, working outside of my home country for a year. The opportunity to do so shaped my interests, thoughts, and motivations. Our teenage years are a crucial and formative age for many. In a world where the distribution of wealth and opportunity is unequal, Rise is a program that looks to work with individuals, regardless of background.

Spiffy: Can you further elaborate on how the organization is working towards a more equitable world?

Nick: Anyone can apply to Rise. We recognize that access to opportunity is unequal, and that often someone's background can be a hurdle, especially when competing against more privileged individuals. Rise has developed a selection process that seeks to take into account not just achievement, but also potential, and also the potential benefit the program can bring an individual.

Spiffy: Tell me about a recent organization milestone or initiative. What impact does it make on your community?

Nick: Each year, Rise hosts its community of winners at a residential summit. I started my role at Rise in June, and at the end of July, one hundred young people arrived in London for a summit that was going to take place in the capital city, and also Oxford. The summit is the primary opportunity for all of the community to come together in person, and you can probably imagine how this impacted the community of winners. I wish I'd been introduced to such an international group at the same age!

Spiffy: Me too, Nick, me too! Can you share an inspiring startup whose impact your organization has helped to advance?

Nick: Applicants apply to Rise by researching, designing, and implementing a project. They do so over the course of about six months, and many start from scratch in order to make the application. Many of the winners continue with their projects after they join this community. One of the ways Rise supports its winners is to offer competitive innovation grants so that they can scale their ideas, and have greater impact.

Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Nick—it’s been an honor!

Nick Rowland has worked for over fifteen years in a variety of international education focused roles, focusing on research, learning, and innovation. He has worked in local government, higher education, and the non-profit sector, developing a particular interest in scholarship and fellowship support. Nick has worked on several global programmes, including the Chevening Awards, Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program, and Rise. He's also undertaken roles for an extended period in Sri Lanka, Lebanon, Jordan, and Timor-Leste. (First published on the Ladderworks website on March 6, 2024.)

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.

© 2024 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Anushree Nande. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.