DISCLAIMER: The following post is entirely my own opinion\n\nIntroduction\n\nGrowing up is hard (I've personally not accomplished it yet) and school is much, MUCH harder. Yes kids get to play as part of their day, but more and more we (as adults) ask so much of them that it can thoroughly stress them out. They are young, and despite what some might tell you are very inexperienced and know very little about the wider world, let alone understand how it all works (newsflash, none of us do) and yet we ask them at an exceedingly young age to make HUGE decisions that will have a huge effect on their lives.\n\nApplied Stress\n\nDespite having to navigate the issues that kids have had to deal with since the dawn of time, as well as the problems and challenges that result from the current period that we live in, we ask ask them very difficult questions which include, but are not limited to the following:\n\nWhat do you want to be when you grow up? An impossible question to drop on someone at the best of times, let alone (typically in the UK) Year 9 when they finally get to choose the subjects they want to do for their GCSE's. They won't know everything about every job available to them so how on earth can they make an informed choice?\n\nWhat University are you going to? This question often skips over the more important "Are you going to University?", which in itself is a hugely daunting question. How do you pick something like this properly without having all the facts ahead of time?\n\nWhat Apprenticeship do you wish to join? Similar to the University question, how can someone make an informed decision without having all the facts ahead of time?\n\nIf you aren't joining a formal scheme, what job are you going to get? For many kids this will be their first job and a scary ordeal. Writing your first CV and Personal Statement combo, putting yourself out there to get hired, going through interviews and the stress of waiting to find out if you were successful.\n\nThis by no means is anywhere near an exhaustive list, and it doesn't at all touch on the complex cocktail of feelings and emotions affecting these young people at such an important juncture in their lives. I remember how stressed I got around this age, and I fortunately had a strong support network to help me through the process. Without that, I fear that I may have gotten lost in the shuffle, and we need to make it our responsibility that no child gets lost on this journey. We need to educate ahead of time and equip them with the information they need.\n\nGirl thinking hard about what career she wants\n\nI was also able to visit a few Universities and attend many careers fairs and it was here that I learned the most outside of the pressure-cooker that was school. It gave you the opportunity to ask questions away from nosey teachers, who at the time I saw as authority figures (being an adult I know they did everything they could to help), and seek clarity during an uncertain time. These events REALLY helped me, and provided the added bonus of having a few hours out of school (I've never been the biggest fan of essays)!\n\nThe Other Side of the Tablecloth\n\nSince entering my first position as a Graduate fresh out of University, I have leapt at every opportunity to attend school open days and careers fairs on behalf of my company (under the different names that has entailed). Remembering that Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) that I went through as a nervous Teenager, I always felt that as long as positively affect the life of one one person, I could sleep easy at night 😴. I've been EXTREMELY fortunate to work for people-centric organisations that actually invest in people (rather than use the popular phrase as a marketing gimmick) and thus have had a whole wealth of opportunities to help to share my knowledge.\n\nSchool Open Days for Young Pupils\n\nRecruitment Events for School, Apprentice and University Leavers\n\nGiving Speeches and Answering Questions at Presentation Days and Speaking Events\n\nGiving Engineering Masterclasses at a Grammar School to Introduce Kids to Coding with C#\n\nFortunately, the people-centric organisations that I've worked for have allowed for me to attend such events all over the country. They always believed that younger generation hold the key to unlocking our future talent and this is a vision I totally stand by. We might do the impossible at our places of work, but can we inspire others to do the same? THAT to me is the key question that we need to answer! The kids out there want to change the world, so it is up to us to give them the tools they need to do so.\n\nInspiring the next generation at an event hosted by the Warrington Pledge at the Pyramid Arts Centre in Warrington\n\nJust recently, I attended the NTLS Creative and Digital EXPO in Warrington Cheshire on behalf of my company, which was organised by the Warrington Pledge. I found to be a fascinating experience with a lot of energetic and enthusiastic people! It was an absolute pleasure to be there.\n\nThe Warrington Pledge Official Site\n\nTwitter (@WarrPledge) Channel\n\nTwitter (@west2087) NTLS Creative and Digital EXPO Update\n\nTwitter (@andimorley79) NTLS Creative and Digital EXPO Update\n\nTwitter (@DriveWorks) NTLS Creative and Digital EXPO Update\n\nTwitter (@ResultingIT) NTLS Creative and Digital EXPO Update\n\nTwitter (@innovationnwc) NTLS Creative and Digital EXPO Update\n\nWhen doing these events, I'm always so amazed at how seriously the attendees take them. Pupils may not know everything about the world, but if they feel comfortable (and your presence is welcoming enough), they are happy to ask you great questions after great questions to gain the insights they need. There were cases where they have totally ignored the merch and demonstrations in favour of 10 minute Q&As, which can be a little conflicting considering how long it can take to set things up 🤣!\n\nOur Collective Responsibility (In Industry)\n\nWe can help be the difference. Kids out there want to make the right choices for their careers, and we can provide them with the information that they need to make informed decisions. By pitching up at such events (of which there are numerous), introducing ourselves and answering their all important questions, we can help them on their journey towards making the world a better place. These events shouldn't be about telling them to work for us, rather we should give them the answers they crave and show them that we will be there to support them should they come and work for us. We will present them with the opportunities they need to grow into the best versions of themselves they can be. Ultimately, we will help them improve our collective future, where we all benefit together.\n\nSo please, get to these events and help them through an immensely difficult period of their lives. By playing your part and contributing to their present, you'll be investing in their future, as well as ours. Let's help take the stress away and create something far more positive 😁! For me, one of the most important lessons to teach is that a career isn't carved into granite and thus fixed for life (something that many pupils believe), and that it's important to work for an employer that allows you to learn constantly and invests in YOU and YOUR skills. It's integral to work as a valued member within a team, not as a tallied number on a boring spreadsheet. Let them know that as they learn more and expand their understanding, they can move into roles and positions that they are more suited to and/or interested in. That is far less scary, yet far more accurate!\n\nAn attractive spread and cheeky cuppa at an event hosted by the Warrington Pledge at the Pyramid Arts Centre in Warrington\n\nBringing Through Talent\n\nGrowing up is tough and deciding what you want to do immediately after leaving school can be extremely difficult for young people. We ask them to make very adult decisions with relatively little information and limited life experience, and such career matters can be scary for adults! By people and organisations making themselves available to pass on knowledge and expertise, as well as be there to answer those all-important questions, the next generation can be empowered to make informed decisions and change the world around us for the better.\n\nTake care and all the best. Si.