Vincentian Graduates Should Move Forward with Confidence
Congratulations are in order for the many graduates at the different levels of our education system who received their certificates of completion of study over the past two weeks or so. Of particular note are the almost 800 young persons who graduated on Tuesday from the various divisions of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College. And while, usually, there is concern at this time about the (in)capacity of our economy to absorb so many local school leavers, along with those returning home from university, there is good reason for optimism that this generation of graduates will be much less dependent on Government or established businesses than any generation before them.
Young Vincentians, like their peers around the world, place much less importance on the acquisition of real property and more on travelling and having “experiences”, or as they say, “living their best lives.” It is not that they are irresponsible or indisciplined; their priorities are very different to those of their grandparents and parents.
Interestingly, it is this very approach to life by the Gez Z or Centennials (born after 1995) or the Millennials (born 1977 to 1995) which has given rise to a range of income earning opportunities which allow them to have careers which are easily portable and not reliant on bricks and mortar establishments; and which cater to the needs, interests and desires of their peers.
Take this Carnival and Graduation season for example. While many traditional businesses are grappling with competition brought on by online shopping and social media technologies, these very technologies have spawned a myriad of business opportunities with low barriers to entry, which are being embraced by our younger generation.
The concept of living one’s best life; looking one’s best; the need to always document life’s significant (and insignificant) moments with a ‘selfie’; the ever increasing popularity of all inclusive parties with red carpets and omnipresent photographers and videographers have given rise to the numbers of Vincentians who are making a living as graphic artists, video editors, disc jockeys, performing artistes, musicians, caterers, chefs, bakers, personal trainers, event planners, nail technologists, make up artists, hair stylists and yes, wig and eyelash manufacturers. Just consider the re-emergence of fashion designers, tailors and seamstresses over the past five years as the fashion conscious move away from store bought mass produced clothes to custom made designs for special occasions and parties. This graduation season, we are told that the average price of the designer “prom gowns” so popular among the secondary school graduates is $1200.
But there is more to our confidence in this generation of Vincentians than the opportunities presented by Internet technologies and the lifestyles common among Millennials and Centennials. Younger Vincentians believe, and rightly so, that no dream is beyond their reach. They have grown up hearing the mantra that while we are not better than anyone else, no one is better than we. And everyday, they see before their eyes evidence about tiny St Vincent and the Grenadines and the outstanding performance of Vincentians around the world to support this belief. They know that once they work hard and smart, employ creativity and discipline, chances are, they will achieve their dreams. Go for it!