A few weeks back I saw Collyers’ students demonstrate a “Robot” they were about to take to the US to join the FIRST Global Challenge, an international “Robotics Olympiad” with students from over 160 countries participating. The “mission” is to inspire science and technology leadership.
More recently it was again Collyers’ students but a very different challenge – staging a production of the Tempest in Horsham Park. The team abridged the play, choreographed music and dancing to complement the acting and performed brilliantly.
Of course we are particularly proud of our local colleges and schools but they are just examples of a huge amount of talent. I asked another talented Collyers’ alumnus – a University student on work experience in our office his thoughts about his “Generation Z”.
Many issues are timeless, others not. My generation had a reasonable expectation that we would be able to buy a house. In 2017 this seems for many in their 20’s a distant prospect. The prospects of employment (statistically) are far more reliable now than previously but underlying that bald statement are insecurities: how will Brexit (positive or negative) play out? What will be the impact on jobs of the Robotics technology which we celebrate– in the factory production line and in law, accountancy – even medicine? These concerns are accentuated by student loans – even if repayments are not made if pay thresholds aren’t hit it remains a big commitment to take early in life.
This week it was announced that the retirement age will go out to 68 for those born after 1978 (a trend that will only continue). A further question is how the new “Generation Z” will provide for its own future while contributing to the needs of an ageing society in terms of healthcare, pensions and social care.
When I meet Generation Z I am confident in our country’s future but I am also glad that they seem more prepared to participate in democracy – that is a good thing. They are, rightly, asking plenty of questions about the future but I think they are interested in finding the answers that work, wherever they come from.
Photo caption: With some of the brilliant Collyers' performers at the Tempest in Horsham Park