2020 graduates: Are we setting them up for success?

2020 graduates Are we setting them up for success blog post

It’s that time of the year. The time when secondary schools across our nation send their leavers off into the big wide world.

Sitting in any End of Year school Assembly strikes a deep accord with me.

I see young adults standing with a mix of excitement and trepidation as they are farewelled by their peers. Deep in my soul, I wish them the very best. Some of my wishes for them are to:

  • Stand strongly in their own identity and values.
  • Hold fast to their dreams and continue to strive for what they want to achieve.
  • Continue to breathe-into times of trial and seek the learning.
  • Use their voices wisely.
  • Keep connected with those who bring out the best in them.
  • Enjoy the ride.
  • And Keep it kind.

I honour their courage and excitement as they embark on the next phase of their life journey.

The thing is, however, the graduates of 2020 are stepping into a world that has drastically changed. Covid19 has changed employment opportunities, our ability to travel freely and ways of interacting (to name a few). It has also helped us appreciate what matters most, to be grateful for what we have, connect more deeply and think more creatively.

In saying this, however, my question is how ready are businesses and further learning institutes for these young people? To what extent are they transitioned in a way that supports them to bring and be their best in this ever-changing world? And what skills and capabilities do they need to succeed?

LinkedIn’s 2020 Workplace Learning Report states workplaces need to develop their people in the following areas: digital, cognitive, social and emotional, and adaptability and resilience skills.

Multiple other research is advocating similar capabilities for the future.

From a social-emotional wellbeing perspective, I believe there are three areas workplaces and further learning institutes need to embed in their workforce development to ensure people are successful in this new work environment:

  1. Awareness: A common understanding and languaging of emotional and social intelligence capabilities and how they look for the individual and across teams.
  2. A coaching culture that supports people to leverage their strengths and lean-into areas for development.
  3. A multi-layered organisation-wide approach to emotional and social intelligence development.

Whilst the impact of developing these skills will have a positive result to business bottom-lines, there is also a legal and moral obligation to support them to be successful.

So my questions to you are:

  • How ready is your organisation for these young adults?
  • How are you setting them up for success?
  • And a question for school leaders… How are you setting your students up for success in this VUCA world?


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