Today was one of those days that started off positive and ended up well, not so positive. No, this isn't another post about the EU referendum but it's equally as important.
I attended a conference today around employment and education, of course this was of great interest to me considering that I just launched Premier Parents (a recruitment agency specifically for parents). The agenda was impressive and I was looking forward to an insightful and motivating day, I even had my neighbour take my Daughter to school for the first time so that I could attend.
As the conference went on, I started to come to a sad but familiar realisation, one that I had experienced far too often. There was a theme that influenced the entire content of the day, from every piece of paper, to every presentation to every workshop. The theme was 'young people'.
Now I know what you're thinking, how can a single Mum that has just started a company to help parents reclaim a healthy work- life balance be moaning about us focussing on our young people? They are our future! Who else should we invest in?! Well, this is the thing that really saddens me....
Until I stood up and asked the question, there wasn't one mention of working parents, unemployed parents, lone parents, nothing.... it was all about teaching school children about employability. Please don't misunderstand me, I have a 5 year old that has always seen me go to work and to whom I give every ounce of myself in order to create a positive and empowering example. The teaching of our children is crucial. After all, the purpose of school is essentially to prepare them for the world of work right?
But here is the problem, as a nation we are missing a massive piece of this broken puzzle. We cannot expect to put everything we have into our children in the hope that they will become the adults we want them to be if we are not supporting the adults they see and love now. How can we put children at the forefront of our destiny but turn our backs on their biggest influencers- their parents?
I'll tell you from experience, there is no bigger example or influence on a child than their family and the household they live in, whether it be a positive influence or not. The Government has provided facilities across the UK to support families that suffer from multiple barriers and challenges in the household. Instead of dealing with the child individually for truancy, crime, aggressive behaviour etc., they look at the family and realise that the entrenched worklessness and poverty in the home affects the whole family in various ways, so they work with them as a unit which is absolutely the right way to go. So if we know that supporting entire families is an effective form of targeted support, why wouldn't we do that when it's the parent that's struggling to find employment?
If we want a child to develop an understanding and a desire to achieve a fulfilling, successful career and contribute to the growth of our society, surely the best way is to give their parents the chance to do the same. You can preach to children all you want about the benefits of work and personal development but they spend a lot of time at home and what they see there is much more powerful than any careers talk for an hour at school.
We need to show our children that you can overcome challenges and that not only should you want to work hard and have a good quality of life, but that there are people out there that will support you in doing so and want you to succeed too!
There needs to be more support for unemployed parents it's as simple as that. Whether they are wanting to return to work or start their career from scratch after caring for their children, it shouldn't be so hard. As employers, we need to create more family- friendly opportunities and stop ignoring the endless benefits of supporting your community and opening your doors to passionate, loyal, HUMAN employees. Whereas the funding providers need to stop throwing more and more funding and higher targets at the same problems in the hope that it will generate new outcomes- it won't. We have enough people working for our children and graduates to provide placements and apprenticeships for now, open up some funding for another crucial evergrowing demographic that can also enhance our economy right now.
So.... I guess what I'm saying is that of course, we need to invest in our future but just remember, there is no future without the present.
Sacha Atherton- Director, Premier Parents Ltd
Original source: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-we-need-stop-putting-all-our-resources-young-people-atherton