A Nordic ancestry and belief in Lasallian values 

Axel Nixon

Student, De La Salle College and Member of the IoD Student Sub-Committee

You were born in Jersey and you have dual citizenship with Sweden. Can you tell us a bit about your heritage?

My heritage is a mix of all sorts; Swedish, Irish, Finnish and English to name just a few. Even though these countries are relatively close geographically their cultures are incredibly diverse, and this has given me an appreciation of different cultures in our modern world. For me, seeing a variety of nationalities enter Jersey is extremely positive and is redefining Jersey as a cosmopolitan island on a global scale. This is how I believe Jersey will be regarded in the coming years. 

You started Kenpo Karate at 5 years old. You have since been awarded a Senior Brown Belt and have competed on the world stage taking a silver medal in Portugal at the World Karate Championships. What has this art taught you about yourself and will you be progressing to a black belt?

Martial arts have been a core aspect of my life and has shaped me into who I am today. Kenpo has taught me self-awareness and the ability to always seek improvement within myself; the competitive aspect of my art has enabled me to further enhance this. I recommend everyone practice martial arts due to the values it gives you; hard work, discipline, loyalty and respect. Practicing martial arts is a lifestyle, so I intend to keep progressing and one day earn my black belt. 

You are Deputy Head Boy at De La Salle College. What are your main responsibilities? And what do you get out of the role?

I remember my first day of year 7, being greeted and guided around the school by some members of the sixth form leadership team. Their confidence and ability to lead was inspirational for me when I was 11. Now being able to hold this role is a great privilege and I hope that I have been able to pass on the same feeling I had 7 years ago to inspire some of the younger boys to go on and do great things. Being Deputy Head Boy has allowed me to represent the school on several occasions, organise events, develop my public speaking ability and collaborate with others in a different context to what would normally be done in school. 

The Future Leaders’ Scheme is incredibly important for young people as it lowers industry barriers, whilst also giving young people the ability to learn and develop critical life skills early on.

You play an active role in your school societies; Charities Council, Counter Bullying Group, Rights Respecting School Steering Group and are the first-ever elected Chairman on the School Council. Where did your interest in these particular extracurricular activities materialise?

Ever since I was in Grouville Primary school, we were always made aware of the lack of equality in the world, being shown real-world issues like the Syrian Refugee crisis. So naturally, from a young age, I have always been actively involved in groups that seek to push communities forward and change the status quo. Once I joined De La Salle, my belief in helping others and seeking change was enhanced as one of the five core Lasallian values is ‘concern for the poor and social justice’. This is a philosophy that I intend to pursue as a lifelong goal within the Island and further afield. 

You have studied Economics, History, English Lit and Mathematics for GCSE and A-Level and have a keen interest in business and finance. Is your plan to apply to university to specialise in one of these subjects or are you more inclined to enter the world of employment as soon as possible?

My chosen subjects complement each other well, giving me a wide variety of abilities. I enjoy all my subjects, my favourite being Economics. As of the end of August, I am planning to enter the world of work on Island to become a trainee accountant, working towards my ACCA qualification.

You were a student representative at the IoD Leaders’ Lunch where the Youth Parliament had a presence and you became a member of the IoD Student Sub-Committee in 2021. What do you hope to achieve as part of the Sub-Committee?

Being part of the IoD Student Sub-Committee is an honour and privilege and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity. As the youngest member of the committee, I intend to bring an alternate perspective on how the IoD can continue to positively impact young people. Schemes such as the Future Leaders’ are incredibly important for young people as it lowers industry barriers, whilst also giving young people the ability to learn and develop critical life skills early on.

As a Year 13 Student, would you be interested in getting involved in the IoD Future Leaders’ Scheme, or indeed becoming a Board Apprentice in the future?

Sitting on the Student Sub-committee has enabled me to witness the work that goes on behind the scenes. These are fantastic initiatives that I believe are essential to the development of a talented island like Jersey. The Board apprentice scheme is one which I am really interested in and I definitely would like to become a board apprentice in the future. The mission of the scheme to create more diverse boards is nothing but a positive for businesses. 

If the new government can take significant action on the cost of housing, then Jersey’s skill shortage will be an obsolete issue and solidify Jersey as a competitive player in the global markets for many more years

Who inspires you?

An individual who was very prominent throughout my childhood in the media was Barack Obama. I always saw the former President as a man who has incredible composure and his ability to captivate audiences has and always will be sensational. This admiration has further been enhanced after reading, ‘A Promised Land’. The memoir takes you through his childhood and most formative years which drove him to devote himself to the lifelong service of the public, which I find very inspiring. I also take great inspiration from my parents and my younger sister whom I am extremely close to. 

What do you think older generations need to learn about your generation?

I think they need to understand the importance of social media in politics, business, news and advertisement. In recent years, we have started to see mass acceptance of the idea that if something is not on social media, it hasn’t happened. I can count on one hand the people of my age I know who watch the evening news or read physical newspapers. Influencers and businesspeople are showing that social media marketing can be more effective than traditional advertising. Kylie Jenner for example does all her advertisements for Kylie Jenner Cosmetics through her social media following for free. With little or no traditional marketing spend, she was able to bring her company to a valuation of $900 million within three years.

The Jersey Election will be held in June 2022. What topics are important to you as we choose new government representatives?

I believe the key issue for all young people today in Jersey is the cost of housing. I believe that this is driving our most talented young people away to the mainland after further education. If the new government can take significant action on this issue, then Jersey’s skill shortage will be an obsolete issue and solidify Jersey as a competitive player in the global markets for many more years. I also believe that young people have a major part to play in putting pressure on the government to address this crisis. They can start doing this by voting in the upcoming election.

Images courtesy of Matthew Loughlin