This month we kicked off our sponsorship of the Skills for Tomorrow EDP Business Award. It got me thinking about my own experience. When I was younger I wanted to be someone that protects the world from climate change, I wanted to be like Captain Planet.
I can remember sitting in a warm breezy class room, the afternoon sun streaming through the window and being stuck to my plastic chair. The summer heat didn’t hinder my attention as on Tuesdays after lunch we had Mr Kenny teaching us Geography. He was a larger-than-life-character who I found captivating with his passion and conviction for what he was teaching. This isn’t something that can be measured or quantified, but looking back for me it was inspirational.
Throughout my childhood my parents have been involved in bringing music to children. I was also lucky enough to have my passion for the environment nurtured by leading expert in Environmental Science, Professor Tim O’Riordan of the UEA. I am hugely fortunate to have had inspirational people around me growing up and throughout my education, not many people get one let alone a few.
However, I did feel there was a missing piece of the puzzle; I never had much interaction with business. I had heard a lot about it and how all of my studies were propelling me towards it, putting me in good stead for it, but didn’t really get any exposure to it.
Because of Mr Kenny and my experience of education I have always tried to apportion a part of my working life towards working with schools. Earlier this year I attended a speed networking event with students at a High School, we were being interviewed by students on our careers, choices, motivations and day-today job life, it was great, lots of questions, and I had the chance to ask questions back to the students. I asked things like “what things they thought that might enjoy doing? What they thought they could be good at? And what would give them meaning and make them feel happy?” A thought provoking question, but not an unanswerable one and what really struck me was the amount of don’t knows’.
We spend so many important years of our life in education and for all that investment to lead to so many don’t knows’, is worrying. I wonder how many of these don’t knows’ turned into ‘oh I’ll just do that course or job’ and a lack of fulfilment, that could have been averted.
I feel the more inspired, better equipped and more exposed young people are to the future world of work that awaits them, then the more likely they are to carve out a path to a career that suits them, where they feel they add value and more importantly somewhere they get a sense of belonging and worthiness.
In a TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson he mentions “everyone has a vested interest in education partly because it’s education that’s meant to take us into this future we can’t grasp” Businesses are in that future and have a vested interest in how education goes.
Businesses looking to grow and change the world need people with passion, who are engaged, that want to be there and want to make a difference.
As businesses we need to offer to engage and work with schools to help inspire and prepare children for the working world. Schools and academies can only do so much by themselves, and where I have seen business/education really gel and work, the result on children has been fascinating to watch.
If we want well rounded, switched on employees for the future we need to invest in them today and hopefully we can turn some of those ‘don’t knows’ into I want to be Captain Planet.
By James Wortley
Chief Plan Hatcher
N.B. Indigo Swan is sponsoring the The Skills for Tomorrow EDP Business Award this year, it is very exciting we are getting behind this as it is something that needs to be recognised, promoted and celebrated. If you are a business, an academic institution, charity or anyone striving to help the next generation, please get involved.