Well done Girl Guiding, says chamber chief

IT is not something I ever expected to say in the first sentence of an article but I would like to pass on my congratulations to the Girl Guide Association which has recently introduced a badge for Entrepreneurship.

I learned of this initiative whilst watching a television programme discussing the news of the day, it also included discussion on the efforts of the Scouting movement to raise more cash.

In my book both organisations have shown a willingness to modernise and innovate, whilst ensuring that young people have access to a wide range of relevant skills. When one considers the challenges that young people face today the ability to deliver entrepreneurial skills is a tremendous plus whether they are seeking to volunteer in the community, enter the jobs market or simply work for themselves.

What was disappointing about the programme was the fact that one of the panel felt it necessary to be concerned that teaching young people to make money was not necessarily an acceptable activity. In our politically correct world I guess I would not have been surprised if they had gone on to warn of opening young people to any risk or some other hideous outcome that might have been covered by the need to consider health and safety.

The fact is we need our young people to be hard working and entrepreneurial and, let’s face it, we are quick to criticise when they are not. When most of us completed full time education finding a job was probably not the challenge it is today. I would also suggest that an employer’s expectations of us were not as high. Today we expect young people to contribute almost as soon as they enter the workplace. We also expect them to have computer skills that even a graduate did not possess “in our day”. Actually we didn’t have computers when I left school but you get the point, I hope.

At the risk of attracting all sorts of opprobrium it seems strange to me that as a society we are reluctant to expose young people to the needs of the real world. This is particularly so when one considers how quickly most rise to the challenge when they are required to do so.

We could debate who, or what, is responsible until the cows come home but the reality is we need to do something about it. We need young people to be bright, challenging and energetic in an economy that will be shaped by new technologies, subject to changing working practices and challenged by ever more complex customer demands. Who is responsible? We all are.

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