Times are very different now from when I was a youth and for some reason, I do have empathy for the challenges faced by the youth of today. Diversity comes in different aspects such as age (youth), race, gender, religion, social class (socio-economic background) and culture. It allows for differences in knowledge, skills, preferences, culturally background, bringing in fresh ideas and experiences, enabling others to learn from one another in society. For those in employment, it makes the organisation to be more successful and profitable.
A diverse workforce is beneficial because it brings in different perspectives and creativity which would support the process of problem solving. It would increase productivity as people would be able to contribute using different interpretations and approaches to the conversation. It brings about new ideas and views that would inspire other youth and adults.
Diversity is colourful and should be promoted in the education sector, employment sector and in government, as it shows not just that people are being tolerated (for being different) but that they are also "accepted". It can also allow the benefit of having an all-round global view of life. One can notice that they may have more in common (either by faith, music, and educational background) than they realise, which may reduce the prejudices that sometimes drives discrimination. By having continuous exposure to other people's traditions, practices and cultures different to yours, people could learn the skills to interact with others in an unfamiliar way. This would equip the youth with a greater understanding of the world and prepare them for the future by improving their social awareness. Having the knowledge of someone's experience can provide the youth with a new perspective, as it sheds light on their values, struggles or priorities, causing one to understand and appreciate the challenges others face.
There are some challenges that the youth face such as lack of employment opportunities, family problems, negative stereotyping, lack of affordable housing, substance misuse, social media pressures, and materialism.
The youth have been challenged with lack of employment, more so for the ethnic minority group. After completing their university education, there is no guarantee for a successful career. When this happens and there is no ambition to work towards, some youth would result in partying, drinking, smoking, substance misuse and other ungodly acts.
Despite the aim to increase diversity in the workplace, some companies have not achieved what really works in the employment sector. They fail to align their diversity strategies with the company's goals, resulting in the difference of what the policies says to what is happening in reality in the workplace. My advice to the youth is to gain as much work experience as possible, even if it is unpaid. Also, seek and attend apprenticeship summer programmes. There are a few going around. I remember my children and some of their friends attended the "Young Apprenticeship" programme organised by the youth leader in the local church. They were required to pitch their ideas and sell some products. They also had the experience of visiting the banks in Canary Wharf, London and met some really interesting people. It was a great experience for all in attendance!
Youth can also consider starting their own business and I know some already own small businesses in catering, beauty or hair styling - It's never too early to start! Firstly begin with knowing what it is you are good at and doing the research, ask questions and be resourceful. There is no good starting a sales business if you do not like speaking to people or you dislike selling products. Once you have decided on your interest, inject some hard work, determination, passion, patience and drive, seasoned with some prayers! You will see the business grow and become successful.😊
Do you think that diversity is something society should embrace?
How diverse is your school, college, university, place of work, neighbourhood?
Share your experience.