Taking a risk

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Martin Crewe (Friends of The Scotsman, 16 July) is right to shine the spotlight on the disgrace that risk-averse cultures and practices are often self-imposed and imagined by organisations whose duty it is to know better.

He is right to highlight the significance of the Scottish Government’s recognition of “risk benefit” as a concept to tilt the easily stirred up paranoia about stuff going wrong.

And he is right to focus on the importance of resilience – which by its very nature can’t be taught and simulated risk-free. 

As a youth employment charity we know that unless young people can learn from their mistakes they are of no use to an employer.

Employers (the SMEs we deal with anyway) know that mistakes happen. It’s how the youngster deals with mistakes, learns from them and owns up to them that counts. In late teenage years, the benefit of an elder’s influence from outside the family can be significant, even life-changing.

That can happen when they enter the world of work. So when Martin says we need to listen and involve young people in all decisions that surround them – yes and no. It mustn’t mean adults backing off. There’s already too much of that.

Supporting young people through the knocks and jolts of resilience is what elders should be doing. Thus breaking free of the risk-averse and resilience-free cultures that interfere in our ability to help and care for each other is, as Martin Crewe says, essential.

Sandy Campbell

Working Rite

Constitution Street

Edinburgh