16 November 2018
How often do we hear teenagers saying they’re ‘not bothered’? There are t-shirts with ‘CBA’, ‘tired’ and the like emblazoned across the front. Is not caring about what you’re doing really something to be proud of?
It’s one of my biggest frustrations.
That being said, many of the young people we work with at UKFast are the opposite. They’re ambitious, they’re hard working and they’re focussed: they’re actively engaged in the world. It’s remarkable because it’s not the norm.
So to hear one of the most decorated English footballers share his advice to a room of young people last night was particularly encouraging. Ex-England and Manchester United footballer, and now assistant coach at the Premier League club, Michael Carrick spoke at a youth event at UKFast yesterday.
He shared the greatest advice he’d received, saying that Sir Alex Ferguson told to ‘be proud to work hard’. He spoke of how important it is to not be afraid to put a lot of effort into everything we do. How we should admit that we put in our all.
What an extraordinary thing for those young people to hear from someone they respect so much.
I honestly wonder if the tide is turning on the stereotypical teenage apathy. We’re seeing more and more young people engaging with politics, business, education and beyond. At UKFast, the team work with thousands of young people from across Greater Manchester. We’re seeing more frequently that these young people want to make a change in their world. They’re hungry to have a positive impact on the world and they stand up for what they believe.
Of course, that’s not the case across the board, but it’s certainly something we are seeing more of.
Yesterday’s event, The Team High Sheriff 500, focussed on helping young people, listening to them and what they need, rather than speaking at them. The line-up including Carrick, as well as Manchester Arena attack survivor Freya Lewis. Freya spoke candidly of how her multiple injuries, surgeries and the death of her best friend as a result of the attack had affected her. She shared her advice for young people’s mental health.
We need to give more young people like Freya the stage.
Some time ago, I met a young man called Jeremiah. He runs youth panels and reverse mentoring to businesses and organisations so they can hear the points of view of young people. I recorded a podcast with him in which he shared his fascinating story. Listen back to it on iTunes.
Ultimately, these young people are our country’s next generation –they’re quite literally the future. If we, as the ‘current generation’, dismiss their thoughts and opinions, there’s no doubt that teenage apathy will continue. Instead, we can empower young people to thrive and grow.