Two actors, a boxer, a cyber-security technician, a business administrator, a mechanical engineer and a builder all go into a gym hall.
Now you may think this is the start of a joke, but believe me this is not only no joke but one of the best things that has happened to me in quite a while.
Some weeks ago, my friend Frank of Bad Pony Media phoned me the other day and said could I take his place at an event. As it happened I could, and waited until the day before to find out what it was.
I was to turn up at St.Roch’s Secondary School in Royston at 9am in order to help some of their school leavers understand and improve their abilities to undertake interviews.
Now for those of you who don’t know, Royston in Glasgow is described as follows at understandingglasgow.com:
“ Male and female life expectancy is considerably lower than the Glasgow average. The percentage of children living in the neighbourhood is considerably higher than the Glasgow average, while there is a lower than average proportion of older people – defined as aged 65 years and over. A high percentage of the population are living in income and employment deprivation and the proportion of children living in poverty is particularly high. Nearly a third of the population are claiming out-of-work benefits.”
So it’s pretty much right up there with the “worst” areas of Glasgow. My immediate reaction was that this would be a group of underachievers with little or no ambition, and definitely no plans.
The young people we were “interviewing” were mostly sixteen to 17, with a few late 15, early 16. The first young man walked up to the table, and I rose to greet him, hand outstretched. ( This was before the Coronavirus) He looked me straight in the eye, shook my hand firmly, smiled and said “Good morning,” If I had been awarding points out of 100 for his interview, I’d have given him 50 immediately and pretty much employed him on the spot. As it happens, all the young people we were helping all behaved in exactly the same way. I’m sure they had already been told that this was the correct way to start an interview, but all 72 of them apparently acted in the same way, so at the very least they were prepared to listen and act on advice. I won’t bore you with what happened over the course of the morning, but myself and the other people roped in to help were all mightily impressed with the confidence, thought out plans and general passion for the interviewees chosen paths.
The two actors in particular were mind blowing in their confidence and poise, and one was so good that already from a standing start two years ago he was in the final casting for a minor part in a full length film about to be shot in Glasgow. The boxer just oozed certainty and had that confident walk that people who have pride in themselves and their ability can carry off to perfection without being arrogant or haughty. The mechanical engineer described his love of taking things apart, understanding them, then putting them back together. The builder didn’t just want to be a brickie – he wanted to understand all aspects from reading architectural drawings to putting the last slate in place. With me were an accountant and a business administrator and I couldn’t help but think we might all be working for this particular young man one day. The business administrator on the panel waxed lyrical about the 16 year old who wanted to be a business administrator – he already knew nearly as much as she did and clearly had a tidy mind and thought processes.
These young people gave me hope for Scotland. We oldies are always moaning about the “youth of today” and wondering what’s to become not only of us but of the country we are all proud of, yet fearful for.
Let me tell you we have nothing to worry about. If Royston can produce young people such as I met on that day then our future is truly in good hands.