Marcus Rashford commends NatWest Thrive graduates at special graduation event  

8 young people were awarded special prizes by Marcus Rashford in recognition of their incredible journey through NatWest Thrive at a special graduation event on 7 November compered by actor, turned TikTok star, Luke Vernon.  

The young people had all taken part in the pilot of NatWest Thrive throughout the summer, during which they took part in interactive, discussion-based sessions, designed to encourage self-reflection, broaden their horizons, cultivate their confidence and giving them a grounding in how money works.  

The England international footballer took time out to join in the celebrations virtually to meet the young people and hear their stories first-hand, presenting NatWest Thrive awards and prizes to the young people as recognition for their achievements and dedication in the programme. 

Amongst the winners Max from Young Bristol was commended for his positive contribution throughout the NatWest Thrive programme: always having a positive outlook and being kind and polite; and for his confidence and knowledge shining through. 

Max said: “I really want to be a footballer, so all the way through it was brilliant to know that Marcus Rashford was part of this. I couldn’t believe it when he came to our graduation and we got a chance to speak to him online. I’ve learned so much and I’m really happy I was involved.”  

Jai’on, SOLVE – Birmingham
Masum, The Osmani Trust – London
Max, Young Bristol
Alisia and Lead Detached Worker Curtis, Wythenshawe Community Housing
Sylivan, Mary’s Charity – London
Khalid, Anti-Tribalism Movement

Masum, from The Osmani Trust in London, scooped the overall winner award for his eagerness to learn and ask questions, which empowered others to follow his example and feel confident participating in group discussions.  

When Masum first started he already had his dreams envisioned in his mind. Supercars, a perfect house, an account full of cash fuelled by a business he will one day build. The discussions about how he was going to achieve his dream opened up discussions about money, business models, investments, tax brackets, banks, accounts, savings, budgeting and much more. 

Masum is now more confident and has a clearer sense of direction on the steps he needs to take to achieve his goals and dreams. He is now back in college and actively looking for work so he can get a head start in life, as well as learn new skills and increase his financial IQ along the way. 

Masum said: “I really enjoyed the NatWest Thrive sessions. They were fun but I learned a lot as well. I went to the sessions knowing what I want in the future but it made me really thing about how I’m going to achieve my dreams. It’s partly because of taking part, that I’ve gone back to college as I know the steps I need to take to get where I want to be. It was brilliant to meet Marcus at our graduation too. It was amazing to speak to him and hear his advice.” 

All of the young people at the event took home a graduation box filled with NatWest Thrive goodies and gifts to recognise their achievements, as well as a signed card from Marcus. 

At the event, the clubs took the opportunity to ask Marcus questions and gain further insights on his approach to life. The Osmani Trust asked: “What event in life shaped you as a person?” to which Marcus replied: “I’ve moved around a lot. It’s helped me learn values and principles that are important to me. I’m blessed to have lived in different communities and wouldn’t change it; it’s taught me so much.” 

Answering a question from Solve: The Centre for Youth Violence, in Birmingham about dealing with discrimination, Marcus said: “Everyone’s got a different history. I’ve grown up knowing that you shouldn’t discriminate on race or religion. I either ignore it or tell people I’m not happy about it.” 

Marcus Rashford, MBE, said: “I’m so proud of every young person that has taken part in the NatWest Thrive sessions over the summer and the progress they’ve made by taking part, embracing the challenge and giving it their all.  

Through no fault of their own, so many young people struggle to think positively about their future potential and see money as a cause of stress and anxiety. More than anything, the young people’s stories I heard at the celebration showed that it’s possible for young people to change their mindset and gain skills and confidence by having the support of people they trust and an environment where they can truly be themselves and be heard, while collaborating and learning.” 

Abbee McLatchie, Director of Youth Work, National Youth Agency said: “We’ve been so impressed by everything the young people have achieved through the pilot of NatWest Thrive. It’s been wonderful to hear how it has helped unlock young people’s passions and equip them for pursuing their dreams. We wish all of the graduates every future success.

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