Many parents and families over the last few weeks watched their children graduate from high school. I saw faces of joy and pride. Their children worked tirelessly to get good grades and be accepted into the post-secondary school of their choice. There were scholastic recognition, community involvement recognition, and leadership recognition to name a few. I found that the same few kids seem to be the ones receiving the accolades and awards.

As I sat listening to the words of advice being delivered to the youth I couldn’t help feeling such a sadness that these kids and their parents have bought into the belief…”get a good education and you will find a meaningful/good job”. I wanted to scream out and say this is not true. You have been sold a bill of goods. Wide-eyed and hopeful many of these kids dream of being doctors, lawyers, accountants, teachers, engineers and so forth. While there are future job prospects for specialized trained positions economists are predicting that because of globalization and automation nearly 1/3 of all jobs by 2030 will disappear including some jobs in law. We need to find what the new jobs are. In one documentary that I watched on CBC Doc Zone, Generation Jobless, it is predicted in the next 10 years that by the age of 30 millennial youth will have 11 different jobs and experienced 200-300 projects. We can no longer tell our children that you will get a good job. Rather most youth will be involved in projects and the way Canada is going employers are relying on precarious employment: contract, part-time and temporary positions.

So yes I felt fear and tears for these children. They have no idea what is going to hit them once they graduate post-secondary school. As parents we need to be concerned about this.

Then I heard the valedictorian speak and he touched on the work of Simon Sinek: Start with Why (YouTube) & How Great Leaders Inspire Action (Ted talk). This man, Simon Sinek, inspired the writing of my four forthcoming books, the second one in particular (Social Entrepreneurism and funding options) as well as my corporate culture branding and identity work. Simon Sinek codified a concept to help us learn how great leaders who inspire behave and their choices. What distinguishes leaders who inspire from leaders who lead (mostly through ego) is the leaders who inspire know their purpose, their vision, their Y and their cause. They are clear on why they get up in the morning. They move from the inside out: why, how and then what.

Most people, corporations and countries for that matter mostly function from the how and what but rarely know their Y. It is this clarity that what will bring success on a personal, professional, country and world level.

The valedictorian’s speech made me smile because I believe he understood the new way of being. It is youth like him that will bring much needed change to this world. I am nearly ready to bring to market my first book: We’re Not Gonna Take It: essential life skills for transitioning from high school to post-secondary education to the workplace. I want to share this book with all youth to give them the life skills and tools to succeed in life. Like Simon Sinek I start from the inside out. To make the best decisions for you, you must understand your Y.

I feel excited to work with the youth, youth advocates and supporters to guide them on this journey of really defining their purpose as why, both on an individual basis and on a collective basis.

Change is needed, especially now! As a parent I can no longer watch the world that is being handed down to our children, especially what I am seeing in Canada. Employers, government and educators are not investing wisely in our youth and thus we are seeing the results – a lost generation. This is not only impacting the youth of today but will affect generations to come. This in turn will affect Canada’s prosperity and growth, how we function in a global economy, the growing disparity between the have and have nots, huge mental health costs, and the concern that we are not preparing our youth to be active participants in society. With an aging population I wonder with all of these kids graduating from post-secondary, many with student debt, underemployed, still living at home – who is going to pay for the social services to carry the older population?

The systems created by the baby boomers for their cohorts need to be evaluated and see what is still relevant for today. Post recession the political, social and economic landscape has changed permanently. It is now time for our youth to create the world that makes sense for the needs of today.

I feel excitement because I see that the youth are looking at things differently. Now we must give them the tools, life skills, resources, support, guidance to learn to speak up and speak out.

As the book comes closer to publication I will share bits and pieces. This book can be read by the parents and the youth however it is directed to the youth. For parents to support their children, even if they do not have the life skills, knowledge or resources to offer their children, they too must be aware of the situation facing their children and themselves. The cost to raise a child until the age of 18 is approximately $200,000. With kids living at home until nearly 30 or into their 30s this cost goes up by an additional $100,0000.

The media want us to believe that it’s the youth who cannot find work however it is the responsibility of our educators, employers and government to provide the opportunity for our youth, to train them for the needs and skillsets desired for today not of past jobs that are going by the wayside. There is a need for highly skilled workers, mostly to do with technology. In the CBC documentary it was stated that many of the jobs skills needed are intersections of different disciplines: for example science, technology and business or arts and technology. Employers need to define their needs and then educators need to create the curriculum to support this. If you look to countries like Switzerland there is 2.8% unemployment for youth versus nearly 15% in Canada. They focus heavily on apprenticeship programs and not just for skilled labour but many white collar jobs, i.e., health, banking and IT. Many youth choose this stream so they can earn and learn. They become responsible, active participants in society. They are highly regarded and valued as ‘national treasures’.

Canada cannot say so much.

I do want to end on a positive note. Despite what is happening today, I know change is coming. It will need to be driven by the youth as they learn to say: We’re not gonna take it!

Have a wonderful weekend.

All my love,

Sandra

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