Getting our future generations ready for the workplace – with a tweet from an Ancient Greek

22 August 2015 Categories: Personality Assessments

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Recently I facilitated a careers workshop for a group of 6th form students who were making an important career decision. A show of hands revealed that 90% of the group had not yet decided whether they would apply to University, or head off in search of employment.

My objective for this workshop was to start their journey of self-awareness. The lesson plan involved the group thinking through their life experiences to-date, to figure out the activities that had given them skills and satisfaction.

The first thing I noticed was that the energy, quick wit and spontaneity of the group was refreshingly superior to the adult learners I was more familiar working with.

The second perception was just how un-self aware these young adults were, through no fault of their own, as they were about to encounter a time in their lives when the amount of choice would be almost unlimited, and utterly bewildering. Ask me to choose any job, or any degree course right now (as a fairly self-aware 41-year-old) and I would struggle – let alone having to make the same decision aged 17.

So what can we offer our future generation to help them in this regard ?

I have held the belief for some time that knowing ones-self is an essential building block of life. This knowledge enables us to make better-informed personal judgments on: what job or uni course to select, who to date, how to be a parent, what to ‘do’ with our lives, how to build productive relationships, how to learn, how to lead so that people follow – all of these things require us to know about ourselves.

However, it turns out that I don’t have the scoop on this – Aristotle thought the same thing too…“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom” Aristotle.

This is interesting, given the importance that we as a western society place on academic education, with all of its labels which serve to measure our “success”. After all, Aristotle didn’t suggest that “Passing exams is the beginning of all wisdom”. Is it possible that we are letting our future generations down by presuming that they will, at some point in their life, ‘connect the dots’ on what makes them, and the people around them, tick ?

As they move into adulthood, should we be equipping our future generations with the power to introspect ?  Should we be showing our future generations how to self-construct their life knowledge – to be able to reason, shape and apply their way through every learning experience ? Should we be helping them to figure out what they’re passionate about today, rather than choosing a career path with ‘good prospects’ ?

The good news is that there are some “Generation Friendly” changes afoot. Many teachers are now using a more philosophical approach in the classroom, enabling students to research, debate and build their learning and beliefs without labelling success. This is about developing the life skill of ‘learning how to learn’ – not simply managing knowledge to pass exams. For more on this see www.jamesnottingham.co.uk (Follow @jamesnottinghm) and www.philosophy4children.co.uk (Follow @p4cdb)

There’s also a “Generation Friendly” personality model on the market, which is interactive and applicable for adults of all ages. Lumina Spark is more visual and intuitive than its competitors, and fundamentally helps people to learn about themselves. Spark has been used successfully as part of the Amos Bursary programme in London – a scheme to help young men of African Caribbean heritage to transition from their London inner-city schools into professional careers. Click here to see how Richard & Lequan have used Lumina to great effect: Richard & Lequan – Amos Bursary Graduates

Lumina Spark incorporates a number of ‘generation-friendly’ features that set it apart from its predecessors in the psychometric market:

 

 

 

 

Essentially, Lumina Spark is an ideal method of equipping the next Generation for their lifelong journey of self-awareness.  The model is flexible enough for the practitioner to tailor workshops to the length and depth necessary to meet their needs. Interventions can range from a 40-minute ‘energiser workshop’ that introduces participants to their high-level personality traits, through to comprehensive development programmes that bring about wholesale personal and organisational change.

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In addition, building soft skills through better self-awareness could improve an employee’s salary by 15% over their lifetime – who would begrudge young people entering today’s workplace the chance of that ? (Source: ‘The Value Of Soft Skills To The Economy’, McDonalds Report July 2015)

According to last year’s British Chambers of Commerce Survey (July 2014) 57% of businesses believed that a lack of soft skills such as communication and teamwork were key reasons why young people were not ‘work ready’.  Self-awareness is an intrinsic piece of the soft skills jigsaw – to understand why we communicate the way we do, and to know the qualities we contribute to a team, is the foundation upon which skills development can take place. So there is more urgency than ever before to equip individuals with a better understanding of themselves – after all “knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom”.

Visit www.optimusteamlearning.co.uk to discover what you and your team could achieve with some Lumina Spark.

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