THE BLOG

Enough Death and Destruction Please - We Deserve Better

03/03/2014 12:34 GMT | Updated 03/05/2014 10:59 BST

We aren't short of high profile bad news this week; violence in the Ukraine, the trial of Oscar Pistorius in South Africa, head-butting football managers here at home, and all manner of death and destruction all over the place.

It's enough to say "stop the world.... I want to get off!"

It is a journalistic truism that good news doesn't sell which is why positive news and aspirational pieces are decidedly short on the ground.

Yet we all crave inspiration, stories of heroism and the triumph of the underdog and the perceived meek. The David and Goliath story has global appeal because we want to know that despite being just one, we are enough.

So how lucky I was to sit in the audience at the Brightside online mentoring awards last week. Brightside is a charity helping young people access education and career pathways for social mobility and they run terrific mentoring projects. The awards celebrate the hard work of mentees, mentors and those organisations putting their time, and resource, into bringing the two together.

With youth unemployment hovering stubbornly around the one million mark it is easy to feel dejected and impotent. Too many people believe that we are helpless in the face of statistics.

So as stories of nominees were read out I couldn't help but meditate on the idea that it takes a village to help young people realise their potential and become the best they can be. If we live in a global village is the challenge really as insurmountable as we believe it to be?

If we all play our role can't we stem the tide of despair and ensure all young (and older!) people have the tools and confidence they need to be future capable. Don't we all deserve the opportunity, and support, to live a life shooting for the stars believing we can achieve our dreams?

Mentoring is an increasingly important pillar upon which corporate success depends. At its essence it is an exchange of skills and knowledge but also the transmission of experience to enhance the possible attainment of hopes and aspirations. True in the workplace but equally true in life.

Matt Long, Brightside's Industry Mentor of the Year winner in 2013, eloquently reminded us that mentoring is symbiotic. Yes, it removes ceilings and boundaries and encourages limitless thinking, but not just for the mentees also for those who commit to their success.

What could be a better way for those at the peak of their careers to pay it forward then to let the next generation stand on their shoulders? What could be more empowering for a generation constantly told it is the hopeless generation, the lost generation and generation broke!

We can convince ourselves that solutions must be national, initiatives must flow from Westminster and that we must find the panacea which will solve one million problems. And indeed we must.

But we should remember too that policies and initiatives are not just about the tens and thousands but about the one... plus one plus one...

The difference an initiative can make to an individual is not abstract.

The improvement of employability prospects, educational attainment and financial confidence can't always be immediately measured but it can be easily seen in the face, the pride and the aspiration of that person. If you only take a moment to look.

As a society we are greater than the sum of our parts and there are passionate organisations already out there committed to providing ways for us to work together.

What could be more important to the prosperous future of a Greater Britain than that?