Many diamonds in the rough

I’ve been thinking about all the criticism being directed at young people (for this blog, those born between 1982 and 2000) today who are collectively known as Millennials. They are characterized as being a surly, self-directed group who can’t get their eyes off their smartphones long enough to acknowledge our presence (us being those born before 1982). Admittedly this is true for some, but should not be a condemnation for all.

I’ve had this conversation with many of my associates and friends and in most instances, they have responded in defense of the young people they interact with. I also find these youngsters to be much brighter than we were at their age, and much more aware of what is going on. Yes, Facebook is rife with idiots, but I would still like to work with many of the other young people. In my extended family, there are many overachievers who are going to make their presence known positively in the world. And my friends express the same sentiments.

I came across the following excerpt from a column in the August Association of Laser Users (AILU) eNewsletter by Neil Main, president of Micrometric Ltd (Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England):
“We read and hear a great deal about badly educated kids, unready for work, unready for life in the world at large. It seems to be a persistent theme in the press and with many politicians. I suppose that there must be some like that but I would like to put a different view: the kids I have come into contact with recently and employed have been some of the brightest, enthusiastic and most engaged with the world I have ever seen.

We rely upon good people to work in the business, as most businesses do. Some time ago, we looked around at the increasingly greying workforce and decided to start apprenticeships. That involves interviewing and selecting and employing and sending to college and mentoring and. It is quite a lot of effort but the rewards are great.”

Commenting about a new school set up in Lincoln to teach STEM subjects, Neil went on to say, “What has really astounded me, though, is the sheer ability of the students. They devour knowledge and skills—laser processing, 3D manufacture, robotics, and mechatronics—no problem. One team even won a competition to put a Raspberry Pi-based project into space on the space station—they are articulate and presentable, too.”

He sums up, “…there are kids out there that are a credit. Kids that obviously do have enormous potential to progress far. I look forward to employing some of them.”

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