Gone are the days of walking out of University with no baggage other than your degree certificate and a slightly grey liver and in to a well-paid, long term career position. No mention of a cumulative debt of £53,330.00, the prospect of a saturated job market and having to relinquish the last three years of freedom and return to your childhood bedroom.
No mention of the tightening of climate change’s icy grip; no manipulation of sea levels, no designing of droughts, no famine and flood that couldn’t be undone by a Bono hit. No precaution against an impending financial crash – no critique of the greed or fraudulent foundations on which many institutions had been built. No preparedness for the impending jobs crisis, the vicious escalation of inequality.
Maybe our generation has been pushed to the brink: we’re straddling the crevasse between immortality and complete ecosystem collapse. Maybe it’s our so called ‘millennial mentality’: we’re fuelled by purpose not pay cheque. Either way no one pre-empted the emergence of a generation of entrepreneurial, values-based decision makers. We’re standing for a more sustainable and equal economy, one where our work allows us to generate an income, do what we love and have a positive social impact.
Our lens on social issues has been sharpened by our digital literacy: our increased connectivity to issues that matter and our ability to use it to tackle seemingly intractable social challenges – from healthcare to human rights. The lack of pennies in our pockets has created a ‘what’ve we got to lose’ mentality and a predisposition to problem solve and prioritise people. We recognise collaboration and connections as key to growth. We’ve been crushed by welfare cuts and can identify the immense value of small and innovative organisations – finding creative solutions and spotting new opportunities where corporates and governments choose to close their eyes.
We’re prepared to fight a battle; not just against social and environmental issues but against the momentum of the corporate conveyor belt that sweeps up graduates and deposits them in unfulfilling jobs. We’re not going to be deflated by this unforgiving and unrelenting job market. We have the agency, drive and ambition– but sometimes it’s hard to spot the support structures to help us succeed socially, personally and professionally.
As an organisation Worthwhile believes that even in difficult economic times there is a need for new talent in the social impact sector. We believe in the immense power and potential of young people and that we cannot look to the future without first looking at who will be leading us there. Our entire mission is built on creating the conditions for young people to do their best work in social impact from the start of their careers. We also want to celebrate and showcase the amazing groups and organisations around us helping graduates carve out interesting, innovative and fast paced roles in the social impact space – Year Here, City Year, Charityworks, Frontline. And the support systems in place London Young Charity Professionals and The Before I Die Network, to name just a few.
Lucky for us, we’re operating in a time of change: we’re seeing the rise of more diverse and interesting work in social impact. Cuts to state support have been the cue for charities to address how they operate – paving the way for greater innovation and self-sufficiency in the sector. The environment of instability has also leaked into businesses – giving us power to shape how they operate if they are to survive.
By 2020 50% of the workforce will be formed by our generation. With 50% of respondents in a survey by The Social Change Agency ‘Global Tolerance’ stating that they prefer to work with companies that have a positive impact on the world, things are looking a little bit better for the world.
Applications for the Worthwhile Graduate Scheme are open until 10th February