Celebrating World Youth Skills Day with Rise Futures- A Nonprofit Providing a Secured Future to the Youth
According to UNICEF’s Recovering Learning report, only a quarter of young people are on track to obtaining job-specific skills. On July 15, World Youth Skills Day recognizes the opportunities and challenges young people confront while engaging in employment. The theme for this year is ‘Transforming Youth Skills for the Future.’
Can you tell us about “The Rise Futures”?
Sarah Hunter: At Rise Futures, we provide possibilities for care for experienced young people. Located in the United Kingdom, we have provided opportunity placements to young people in the City of London. In our journey of two years, a large number of trustees have joined us on this adventure. Currently, we are collaborating with numerous companies and local services to provide opportunity placements to care for experienced young people. And it’s wonderful to see companies opening their doors to provide young individuals with the most incredible work experience placements in this sector of society.
Why have you chosen to work for the betterment of the youth?
Sarah Hunter: In the UK, the statistics for care experienced young people who aren’t engaging in education, employment, or training are incredibly negative. And the common perspective is that young people choose not to engage. But that just isn’t the case. They are often lost and deal with barriers. Sometimes, all young people need is an opportunity to engage with something in a safe way so they can find their feet and move on safely to their next opportunity.
Young people are one of the most vulnerable sections of society. If you can do something to help them from being pulled into the most dangerous bits of life, you’ve done something good. You have made a difference in somebody’s safety in life by just opening up and speaking with them and offering them an opportunity. And that’s why we’re working with those young people.
What do you think is more important, education or skill development?
Sarah Hunter: Each has its own place, in my opinion. A doctor, for instance, needs to have an understanding of the human body. In addition, they need soft skills when interacting with their patients effectively. So there is a need for both to thrive and grow.
But from the opportunity placements and Rise Futures perspective, it’s more about skills development for us. Education can be a barrier. For children coming from dysfunctional families, it can be pretty tough to concentrate on their studies. So, judging people by their level of education or what they achieved from the ages of 11 to 16 can be very limiting. And it causes a lot of barriers to access certain things for young people. For us, it’s about personal growth and learning those technical aspects so they can move on with their life, whichever way it may be.
How can people volunteer to help the cause you are supporting?
Sarah Hunter: Most of the young people we work with lack exposure. They have only seen the world through their lenses, which restricts their frame of reference. Interacting with people from different corners of the world and asking them basic questions about their job, culture, and how they’ve achieved what they’ve achieved can ignite the imagination in young people. It opens up horizons and does break down barriers. So if you can volunteer a few hours to interact with young people, that is one way to help.
Another aspect of it is that we mostly hear success stories. Most often, you see successful people in a job with a house and a car, and you think, wow, that’s amazing, I could never do that. But you don’t know the backstory behind it. Young people nowadays see the world through their social media accounts and get influenced easily, but social media hardly shows us the real world. And to give a real perspective of the world, to come out and show these vulnerable people the struggle behind the success is an excellent way to get involved. Everyone has their struggles, and sharing those struggles and how to overcome them can be inspirational for all young people.