Last week I had a whole new experience and took myself totally out of my comfort zone. I spent the day with 120 teenagers who all wanted to learn about running their own business and, or getting the best jobs. So in walks 5ft 1” of me, obviously sporting my Red 3” patent shoes to be faced with 120 motor mechanic students ready to share my knowledge – boy did I get a fast reminder of the mind of a 16-year-old lad!! They were noisy, disruptive, immature, smutty, scruffy, rude, disrespectful, sullen exasperating, and giddy. With the majority of them hugely lacking in confidence, motivation, eloquence and concentration. When we saw their written work the spelling was horrific, grammar nonexistent (please no one mention apostrophe use or a certain someone in Bristol is likely to blow his top!!) and the standard of the written word was appalling.
They were given a brief, with a little guidance and a lot of encouragement they understood what they had to do, and by the end of the day they had, in small groups managed (in most cases) to put together a 4 minute presentation which they gave in front of real grownups and their peers – they then had to answer questions to sell their idea to us and do you know what I saw yesterday? TEENAGERS: they do listen, they do step up, they are able to follow instruction, they are creative and dynamic, they do have sparkle and a couple even had the X Factor. There’s more! They are funny, liberating, inspirational, motivating, and full of confidence.
I had a hugely rewarding day and I hope the students I worked with had the benefit of my experience; however I think that it has thrown up more questions than it has answered. We need to educate our children about life and not just train them to retain information and pass exams. It was blindingly obvious that the teenagers I worked with last week excelled when part of a small team or working independently but everything fell apart in a large group; everyone was too worried about getting it wrong in front of their mates or looking silly. Most of the teenagers had little or no commercial awareness at all – basics like if you are self-employed and you do not generate money you can’t eat and you can’t claim benefits!! Exposing younger children to more guest speakers from all areas of the community in school will mean that we can normalise the big, wide world for them so they will be one step ahead of the competition. Make the school part of the area and you start to build a community. Start to build a community and we allow our young people to have something to strive for and something to build on. The elements are all there in these young people to become a generation to be proud of they just need a little guidance. Pesky Kids?? You know what they were brilliant, I just wish I could have had more time with them; maybe next time!!!!!!
I am an active recruiter who also works with businesses and individuals on bespoke consultancy projects. To find out more about how we can best work together call me on 01594 529413.