I remember watching a TV programme based around how our generation has landed into chaotic financial times and why we tend to rely on our parents for a little financial support, or with the more spoilt of our generation, support in the form of buying us a house. It concentrated on how the previous generation managed to buy, invest and maintain more stability in relation to their finances as opposed to how we can now. With the changes in the banking system, the ever increasing rising costs of, well, everything. We had loans, credit cards etc thrown at us which the vast majority accepted with a big smile on their face with little to no knowledge on how it affects you financially in the future. We weren’t thinking about mortgages, or cars, insurance etc at 18 to our early twenties. A majority of our parents would have met or even been married with a house by their early twenties.

As our generation continues to limp on although we continue to persevere through the many barriers we face whilst trying to build a future for ourselves, the focus has diverted now onto the younger generation of today. It has been speculated, researched and highlighted in the decline of the younger generation. With the rise in crime of young offenders, lack of manners, etiquette and social behaviour it’s not hard to see that there is a concern for where society is headed.

I encounter a lot of 16-24 year olds searching for apprenticeships. I interview them, question them on what they want to do and where they want to go. Now I can’t judge anyone for being unsure about what they want to do, I was exactly the same when I left school, or even if I did know, I was not confident in myself enough to pursue it. Despite my uncertainty, I did not commit myself to something I wasn’t going to see through to the end, if I applied for jobs and accepted interviews I attended them. If I knew it wasn’t for me, I’d refuse the job. Through my relentless search for a career to quench my ambition’s thirst, I did know I wanted an apprenticeship as I felt I was not academically or intellectually equipped to go on to University. Plus, knowing that I am a practical learner, I learn things more effectively if I do them so I knew an apprenticeship would help me embrace what I was certain of.

Unfortunately, the majority of the younger generation I encounter don’t seem to have anything that they’re certain of. They claim to want an apprenticeship, yet they retreat because “they don’t fancy it anymore”. They claim to want to work in the industry I help provide apprenticeships for, yet they’ve shown no initiative to find out anything about the industry, the job role, the employer, anything. They show no enthusiasm and certainly no ambition. Obviously, I’m not talking about all of them but the majority.

These zombies who come to sit in front of me who don’t even show the effort to try and deceive me in thinking they’re genuinely interested in an apprenticeship are void of many of the qualities a majority of the our generation didn’t seem to lack. From our birth, we are sculpted by our experiences, by the people we’re surrounded by, by our education, by our upbringing. So I’m fully aware that the younger generation I encounter, have become who they are for all of the reasons I’ve just mentioned. Some have been moulded more by the positive influences than the negative. They’re self-confident, enthusiastic, and polite to name a few. The majority I’m talking about, tend to have the complete opposite of those qualities with one or a few pulsating to the extreme which clearly visible through their sloppy appearance, they’re drone like almost robotic demeanour when they have to verbally communicate in a situation they’re being forced in to by their parents. The same parents that more than likely offered the excessive amount of options that snatched any kind of independence out of their own child.

The mollycoddling that seems to be integrated in the education system at secondary level that has given more power and authority to the students themselves as opposed to the teachers has also helped create the lack of respect the younger generation have for authority. Instead of punishment or detention, they get some sort of support tutor. Instead of implications, they get rewards. Perfectly healthy and intellectual youngsters have a reluctance to actually try to understand anything that may help them create a future for themselves as they’ve had most things spoon-fed or handed to them on a plate, where there’s people who have genuine struggles and persevere to reach a respectable position in life.

Where is it going wrong? At home? At school? In their minds? Where is the root of the problem? Who is to blame? Considering we’re moulded by everyone we surround ourselves with, I believe everyone is to blame, including the individual.

Although most won’t show much interest in the news or the country’s current economic situation, they’ll be surrounded with discussions of the world without knowing it. Hearing one positive comment on the news or within the household accommodated by 5 negative comments. Fuel added to the fire of pessimism and cremating any ounce of optimism.

There’s nothing that can be done as to what happens within a household. I believe that the first step to change is a shake up in the education system, particularly at secondary level. The point before the youngsters step into the real world where they’ll come to quickly learn that the world has little to no regard how spoilt they are, whether or not they like what the world has to offer or what personal problems they have. It should be at this point where they can be engaged and guided to seek their true interests, to understand their strengths, to be educated in the implications of bad credit, the principles of decency and morals. I’m not saying the education system completely fails as it is a good vehicle to accommodate those who truly want to succeed, who want to thrive, who want to achieve any level of accomplishment regardless of whether they are one of those who find it easier than others and those whom are from a background of adversity. It fails in engaging and attracting the attention of those who aren’t interested, who are spoilt, who do have too many options and these are the people who believe the time of others is disposable to them until they find something “they fancy doing”. Teachers continue to be stripped of their authority through the limitations that continue to be added to the level of punishment they can enforce on a student.

I hope that the younger generation find the necessary skills within themselves and absorb the positive influences to equip them with the qualities to successfully find the light at the end of the tunnel a majority seem to be in at the moment.