The Covid-19 pandemic has profoundly disrupted life as we know it. Crucially, it is disproportionately affecting our youth and driving up our already dire youth unemployment rate.
South Africa’s future relies on the collective contribution that our youth are going to make to business and society, so it is critical to address issues related to their education, inclusion and futures right now. To get South Africa to a place our youth would want it to be, they need to be enabled to be part of the conversation and the journey to get there.
So what can young people do to come out successful on the other side?
It turns out, quite a bit.
This question was tackled by more than 60 university students from Cape Town (UCT), the Western Cape (UWC) and Stellenbosch (US), Coronation bursary holders, and CEO of Coronation Fund Managers, Anton Pillay, in a recent Youth Month webcast. The students had a chance to share their views and concerns with Pillay, and he in turn gave them support and advice on how to manage their studies and careers to navigate through this stressful time of lockdown and uncertainty.
Pillay’s message to students is simple: It is easy to fall behind during lockdown. But you can also use this time to get ahead. The choice is yours. In every crisis in history, people have had a choice between becoming victims of their situations, or taking control of their destinies.
It all comes down to tapping into the right skills.
Pillay talked to seven qualities which can stand our youth in good stead in navigating the unknowns during times of adversity:
- Resilience – resilience is about mental fortitude and managing risk while looking for opportunities
- Adaptability – there are known knowns, known unknowns, unknown knowns, and unknown unknowns – only try to control what you know and don’t succumb to anxiety about the unknowns
- Resourcefulness – think differently and stretch your mind in terms of how you approach activities
- Self-discipline – maintain some structure in your life and never stop learning
- Empathy – be caring and responsible in the way you deal with those around you
- Curiosity – curiosity is absolutely key to success – it encourages you to learn, respond and thrive
- Optimism – nothing comes easy, but if you remain committed and you seek out the possible, you will succeed. You must have the courage to follow through on what is necessary and to adopt meaningful changes.