Skills that complement the workplace

Carla Alleyne has been the Operations Manager for the Award in Barbados since 2012. Carla started the Award in 2001 with really one aim, ‘to go camping’.  For her, the Award has given her that and much more. She’s developed global friendships and worked in multiple meaningful projects both at home and abroad.  Carla completed all three Award levels and credits her Award experience with her ability to face the world with confidence.

National Director of Barbados

The role of the Award in non-formal education

“As a person who believes in the value of formal training, I will also say that balance with soft skills is necessary to be able to navigate the world. I think that the Award should be seen as a tool to help the school system. In addition to providing students with a way to learn more about the world it is there to reinforce some classroom concepts. Experiencing the Award gives way to young people who are well adjusted, creative and are problem solvers. These are skills that complement the classroom and the workplace. The Award is a tool for shaping future leaders.

The Award helps young people to be more resilient and I think this is one of the greatest features anyone can have.

“For participants here in Barbados, I can say that the Award is working to help them to see more of the country, to be exposed to people outside of their regular peer group. In search of service hours they are going out and speaking to strangers, helping persons with disabilities. Pursuing the Award is a means to better interpersonal skills. Why is this important? It is important because none of us can go through life alone; we have to learn how to communicate with each other. Being comfortable with working in groups and coming together with strangers, puts our Award participants ahead of the game when they enter the work force or even decide to become entrepreneurs.

“The Award helps young people to be more resilient and I think this is one of the greatest features anyone can have. No day will be perfect, no plan will be executed as intended but the person who believes in his/her ability and is resilient can keep a team motivated to get a task done.

How does the Award make youth World Ready?

“The answer to that question is simply through challenging experiences. I always tell people the Award is about giving access to opportunities. For the teenager who signs up, it is an opportunity to access a far-reaching network of people who are like-minded as it relates to life-long learning. What the Award experience does is show an unsure young adult that they can achieve what they set out to do. When at 15 years old you are charged with having to conquer an Adventurous Journey, juggle homework, a social life and regularly work at mastering a skill, play a sport and volunteer to help others, you are really testing yourself. But as you get it done, what you gain is experience that will show you in the future that you are capable of handling a lot. This is what I think it means to be world ready.

To be world ready means to believe in yourself knowing that you can handle what life is going to throw at you; it’s about confidence.

“The Award’s progressive structure really sets the stage for young people as they move on in life’s stages. As we get older, things do appear to be more difficult but if you have already proven to yourself that you can handle difficult or unexpected situations, you look at life with a measure of confidence that allows you to tell yourself ‘I can do this!’

How can the World be ready for young people?

“I might say that the world is never truly ready for what the next generation will bring because none of us is exactly like those who have gone before. The generation that invented the telephone did not imagine that there would be something called voice notes or instant messaging. But what I do believe is that the world has to be more open-minded if it is going to be ready and able to fully handle what the youth will bring to the table.

“As far as I am concerned being open-minded means to listen to what others have to say and to be willing to delay judgement or imposing our own views. As an Award leader, I constantly have to stop myself from speaking and rather focus on listening to the teenagers as they present their point of view. Young people are curious and full of energy and ideas; sometimes all they need is an outlet to explore. The Award helps to provide that kind of space for them.”

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