Employers can learn from the younger generation

I WAS recently on the judging panel of a young entrepreneurs’ competition and it was a great reminder that there are many young people out there with ideas.

A plan for an online music showcase was just one of the ideas on show. Picture: Johnston Press

As one of the older generation, it also served to reinforce why young people are so important in the workplace.

The young people we met and interviewed for the West Fife Young Entrepreneur Award have an understanding of new technologies that the likes of me will never fully grasp.

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All the candidates wanted to start up their own businesses and the majority of these businesses were either built around or used social media.

The world moves on and while it is a cliché it is also very true to say that today’s younger generation will be the leaders of tomorrow – and we should remember that.

That is why anything which encourages young people to aspire to work or start up their own business is a good thing.

These particular awards gave the young people recognition for their aspiration and a platform from which to talk about their own business plans.

They were asked to present their ideas, set out how they would work and answer questions from the panel on their business.

It wasn’t quite Dragons’ Den, but it was an environment that would allow them to gain from the experience either in terms of advice and guidance, or encouragement.

The winner was Lachlan Edwards who has a music channel on YouTube which he plans to develop as a showcase for new musicians. The next Simon Cowell? Why not?

I am convinced that there are more Lachlans out there.

There are certainly many young people who simply need a chance to demonstrate their value or talent.

Some may not have the traditional job skills, as older employers like me know them, but they want to be successful, have ideas and quite likely a better understanding of the world as it is today and will be in the future.

The rest they can learn if we teach them.

Fresh thinking helps a business survive and thrive. Worth remembering when you next interview a school or college leaver.

• Gerard Eadie, CBE, is chairman of CR Smith and the founder of Hand Picked