What does a scaling consulting firm and a national charity have in common?

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In a world filled with constant noise and challenges, it’s essential to focus on equipping future generations with the skills they need to thrive. I recently asked two very different people, two very similar questions. The first was to the Regional Manager of the charity Young Enterprise (YE). The question, Why work for Young Enterprise?

The answer: “Young Enterprise helps people to dream big and equip students to become more attractive to potential future employers whilst giving them the skills to do it alone and become entrepreneurs.“

The second question I asked, was to the founder and CEO of Sullivan & Stanley. The Question, why did you start S&S?  The Answer “ To Inspire the future of work, hence the name sake after my two boys, Sullivan & Stanley and to challenge the big boys with their outdated thinking and ways of working. Oh and I also love growing businesses”

Can you see the similarities?

Both organisations exist to serve the future generations to come, and the world of work. With the goal of creating a world where we all have options and potential for success, whether it’s a graduate stepping into their career, or an organisation looking to deliver their next customer offering.


Navigating the Modern World

Today, we are bombarded with news stories about hiking interest rates, global supply chain constraints, frightening sustainability statistics, low levels of employment, and new technology developments. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the rapidly changing landscape and the fear it instils. However, now more than ever we must remember that there are generations to come after us, and it is our responsibility to ensure their success. Instead of fuelling worry and doubt, we need to ask ourselves: Are we adequately preparing them for the future world of work?


How do we help them?

Amidst the focus on technological advancements and specialised knowledge, we seem to have overlooked the importance of soft skills or in other words the “basics”. While technology, AI, and coding are undoubtedly crucial, I think I speak for many when I say the softer skills are the ones that have helped me get to where I am today. The ability to firmly shake a hand, clearly communicate, bond in a team dynamic and never give up have always served me well when navigating challenges in both my personal and professional life.

Somewhere along the way, it appears that we have overlooked these crucial soft skills. Our attention has shifted towards the technical aspects – technology, AI, cyber, coding, and marketing strategies. Don’t get me wrong, these are all important, but what happened to teaching the fundamentals of good teamwork and developing relationships? Understanding how to calculate simple margins? And that more coming into the bank account than out, is often a good sign?


The Shared Vision

This is what both S&S and YE have in common, they recognise the significance in mastering these basic skills. They share a commitment to instilling the principles of effective team dynamics, problem-solving in real-world scenarios, and meaningful customer communication.

As we face a future that can only be described as uncertain, the need to reflect on effective strategies and nurture the talent of both individuals and organisations is crucial. In a world where approximately 90% of the global population breathes polluted air, and even the simple act of enjoying a weekend burger comes at the hidden cost of approximately 600 gallons of water during its production, it’s clear that we face a multitude of obstacles on our path to progress.

This is where both S&S and YE connect. They both see the world for what it is now, and consciously act to support organisations and the future workforce. They equip them with the tools and skills that will be needed to solve the challenges in front of us.


Addressing Current Challenges

S&S is fantastic example of creating strong team dynamics and implementing effective ways of working that address real-world challenges. They excel in communicating what truly matters to customers and consistently go above and beyond to support one another. These are the traits Young Enterprise seek to teach the next generation through its day programmes, to ensure when the workers of tomorrow step into their first role, they’re equipped to navigate through what lies ahead. However, this is not saying that AI, Cyber, and Technology aren’t important, they’re a huge factor to consider and we need them all to survive moving forwards, my point is to not forget what’s worked so far and what will only help us adopt these new technologies collectively.


As someone fortunate to work for Sullivan & Stanley and support Young Enterprise in the Northwest, I witness first-hand the challenges organisations face and the problems today’s teens will need to solve. However, I have witnessed a gap in addressing these needs, which is why I love stepping into the day programmes and helping teach these skills and paint a picture of the opportunity for success that awaits the future of work.


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Written by Oliver Bradley
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