2017 was a year of immense and vivid change across the globe. The uncertainty and instability has, at times, been palpable.
Our economic situation is precarious: rising inequality, automation displacing jobs, globalisation, an emerging non linear, insecure world of work, 1% of the richest people on the planet own over half the wealth.
Our social progress is stop/start at best: gun law debates, marriage equality surveys, avocado-gate, racism exposed, asylum seekers and refugees abandoned. To top it all off, the very survival of our planet hangs in the balance.
We urgently need unfettered thinking, creativity and fearlessness to take on the challenges and opportunities in a global, hyper-connected world. So what are we waiting for?
Our greatest untapped resource are the 2.8 billion young people on the planet now under 26 years of age. At scale, this generation is experiencing perhaps the most rapid and dramatic change of any generation before them. They also stand to lose the most with higher sustained un and under- employment, unaffordable housing prices, increased costs of education and lack of assets.
Young people are wising up to these issues as systemic, not the individual’s, problems alone. Whilst young people are, understandably, feeling a good deal of uncertainty about their future, many more are jumping at the opportunity to craft, design and test new ideas and solutions, together.
A recent example in Australia showed of the over 100,000 new voters to join the electoral roll ahead of the Australian ‘yes’ marriage equality survey, an overwhelming 68% were young people. And in the results – 78% of young people (aged 18-19) voted yes.
Today’s young people are also our first generation of true digital natives and yes, they take selfies. But in a world that is increasingly digital and automated, maybe it’s time to see this as a positive rather than a negative. More than any other generation, young people today are plugged in to each other and the world. They are savvy to technology’s nuances, tricks and opportunities. 82% of young Australians gain the bulk of their information through social media/online resulting in a generation more informed, connected to each other’s stories and lived experiences, and driven toward progressive social change.
It’s in this combination of tech fearlessness and social conscience that a new generation of ideas will be unleashed.
At FYA, our purpose is to back young people and enable them to create the world they want to live in.
Some of our 2017 highlights include:
Engaging with one of the largest communities of young people in Australia: 200,000+ young people who engage online and face to face through our programs;
For the 8th year in a row, backing another 60 young entrepreneurs and social innovators to start, develop and grow enterprises that achieve both a social impact alongside sustainable revenue generation – the largest community of young entrepreneurs in Australia;
Supporting over 11,000 Australian school students to try out entrepreneurship through $20Boss;
Hosting over 708 community events in our #FYAHub, which has grown to support 99 members who use the co-working space to collaborate, communicate and take their ventures to the next level;
YLab, FYA’s social enterprise, has completed 20 projects and trained and employed 40 Associates to work in co-design and delivery of system change projects with governments, schools, businesses and for purpose organisations in Australia and beyond; and
Reaching an audience of over 13 million people via the media with our New Work Order research series.
These are just a few examples of what an organisation of less than a hundred people down a laneway in Melbourne can do in partnership with fifty exceptional socially-minded businesses, purposeful philanthropists, forward thinking governments and hundreds of collaborators in the for purpose and community sector.
Imagine what we could do together if we moved with young people, backing them to transform the world and create the change they want to see in their world?
In 2018 at FYA we’re committed to putting young people at the centre of our work; learning about and designing the future and collaborating for change, together.
With huge thanks, gratitude and admiration to the extraordinary FYA community of young people and partners we have had the joy of working with in 2017!
Wishing you all a regenerative holiday season and happy New Year.
See you again in 2018.
Jan Owen AM