The 10 most important 21st Century Emotional, Entrepreneurial and Employability Skills for you to share with teenagers

The 10 most important 21st Century Emotional, Entrepreneurial and Employability Skills for you to share with teenagers

What were the most important skills you needed for the world of work when you were at school? Did anyone ever discuss these with you? How did you decide what career to follow? How has the world changed since you were at school? Did you appreciate there were different roads you could travel to attain your career goals? Did anyone every explain this to you? We can all probably remember our times at school when we asked why were studying a certain subject? How was it relevant to our lives beyond school? I know, I used to ask this question often, as so much of what I seemed to be learning appeared to be irrelevant and boring at the time – indeed, as I think back now, some of that work still seems to have been irrelevant or, perhaps my teachers did not show me the relevance. Maybe I was not listening …. I was a normal teenager, yet I think today’s world is demanding more creativity and innovation as the Digital Age expands and evolves. I have thought about all these questions a great deal, read relevant books and articles and worked with hundreds of young people, during which time we would have discussed these questions as we explored hopes and dreams. I have collated all my information under 10 skills as an encouragement to anyone working with young people, though they are as relevant to anyone of any age seeking meaningful work in the 21st Century. Author Tony Wagner, in his challenging book, Creative Innovators – The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World, writes:...
If you value teenagers then read this!

If you value teenagers then read this!

Do you have teenage children? Do you teach or coach teenagers? Do you work in any way with teenagers? Earlier today I heard that a young man I mentored in the late 1980’s had passed away in 2017. I don’t know what happened and I am still saddened that Agrippa is no longer with us. He was a young man of courage and immense talent who came from a disadvantaged background, yet developed strengths that allowed him to fearlessly stand out from the crowd in an apartheid South Africa. He helped me develop non-racial symposia, had an amazing sense of humor, developed superb leadership skills and taught me so much about what a non-racial South Africa might look like. News of his death has brought so many memories flooding back. This has led me to think about about the power of mentoring, though mostly in relation to other students who crossed my path over the years, and wondering what they are doing with their lives today, what ‘might have been’ had they had the opportunity to be mentored when they were 15 or 16 years of age? Unique gifts and talents to be nurtured and encouraged by a non-judgmental Cheerleader. I was reminded of the positive results of an Online Student Performer that one of the early GR8 Mates student participants had completed at the end of their school-based mentoring program. The students had completed this task at the beginning of the mentoring journey and again, six months later, when the program officially concluded, though some  +10 years later, some of those adolescents, now adults, are probably still in touch with...

62. More WOW! Moments as third program closes

Today will long remain as one of the most memorable days I have had being involved in a youth mentoring program. Sam (not her real name) came back! Sam had basically dropped out of school about seven weeks ago and had moved in with her boyfriend, who was a few years older than her, partly because she was having difficult family issues. Her mentor and I were trying to work out strategies to reach her, but were experiencing problems in this regard. Last week I was told Sam had returned to school to write her exams. Today Sam appeared for the Celebration event and looked positively radiant! Each of the mentors and students shared something about the GR8 MATES program they had enjoyed. Sam told us that she had thought she would not be allowed back to school. However, she had approached the acting Principal and had a discussion with him. Sam had decided that she not only wanted to return to school to write her Public Exams next week, but she wanted to stay on and complete her schooling! Her mentor shed a few tears and I think everyone in the room was moved, as Sam has had a tough time. I spoke to Sam after the function and let her know how proud of her I was, told her that she had made some courageous decisions in recent weeks and also assured her that never again would she have to feel alone. One of her issues was that she didn’t feel she had anyone to talk to, but now she realises how important her mentor is in...

60. Winding down two programs and learning lessons

There are an interesting couple of weeks ahead, as two pilot programs come to an end. Most of the students have now completed their online Student Performer and it is clear that in the majority of mentoring relationships the students have made some significant progress. Almost all of them have a much greater understanding of career pathways and the options open to them, which is one of the major features of the GR8 MATES program. As this has happened, so has their attitude to school and academic studies improved and, in the majority of cases, there also appears to be a growth in self-image, self-confidence and a greater willingness to reveal the ‘real me’. I am sure there is a whole lot more and will make an effort to comment more fully on a future blog. A couple of months ago I decided to write one combined email to the mentors of our three programs each week. Previously I had been writing a separate one to each group. The idea behind the combined one, in addition to the obvious saving of administrative time, was to be an encouragement and reassurance to the mentors, perhaps an opportunity to learn from the efforts of other programs etc. Well, in chatting to a mentor the other day, I came to realise that this was not a good idea, as mentors are busy people and don’t read the emails from beginning to end, even when I highlight key points. So, it’s clear that a short, sharp email to each group separately is a more effective strategy to ensure effective ongoing training and support....

58. Potential dangers of a government funded program

I have written before that GR8 MATES is linked to a federal funded not-for-profit organisation. In one month our two other pilot programs will be completed. I am also experiencing the perennial difficulty of recruiting volunteers for another program, mainly because the mentoring program is only part of my job and also because I haven’t really had enough time to recruit these volunteers. The school at which we are completing a pilot wants us to run another program next year. So, the idea is to train the mentors before the end of the year, match them and then they will be ready to begin the journey in February 2009. Thus far three of the current crop of mentors have indicated that they would like to continue next year and I have about six or eight others interested, though none of these have completed Application Forms yet. I will do some phoning on Monday and Tuesday next week, but if I don’t have 10 – 15 mentors for the program, I won’t go ahead at the moment. What this could mean, though, is that we will not be able to launch another program until we know whether or not we will be receiving more funding beyond 2009. Our Federal Government has changed, the economy is being hit by the world global recession – is one allowed to use that word? – so the government might decide our programs should be cut. It would be shooting itself in the foot, as we are working at skilling Australia, which is one of their election platforms. However, with all that they know about...