“Class of 2020!” – Our Future Industry Leaders!

This article was written by Antal Managing Partner Liz Dillon. Find out more about Liz Dillon and the Essex, UK office here.

Friday 20th March 2020 is a date that will be remembered with a whole mix of emotions, for various reasons for different people. For the “Class of 2020” (or the Class of COVID-19 as my friend very eloquently put it) will be a day that has shocked their world! Who would have foreseen back in September, when they entered the year with fresh determination and motivation to complete their exams, that they would face the reality of not being able to actually sit them! For many Friday 20th March 2020 will be their “last day” at this key stage in their Scholastic career. 

Irrespective of academic stage (Yr 2, Yr 6 SATS, GCSE’s, A Level, Degree etc) the emotions attached are monumentally mixed. Feeling: Robbed – by not having the opportunity to experience the last few months of this academic stage, Angry – at not having the chance to actually sit the exams that they have worked and studied so hard for, Concerned – that they have not had the opportunity to  better mock grades in those final few critical months and maximise potential, Worried – for their future paths, Relief (then guilt) – that they do not have to actually face the exams themselves, Faith – that their teachers and the country’s academic leaders will assign fair and just grades, Sadness – that they will not be able to embrace the celebration activities planned or anticipated, Loneliness –  through the sudden isolation from their peers and friends, Fear – of the social chaos and impending medical threat that has caused the disruption, Confusion – what do we do now?

Friday 20th March 2020 will however be a day that I remember with pride as my primary emotion. Pride in what I have had the privilege at witnessing in the streets, at the school gates and in my community. Pride in the students embarking on their last walk to school with smiles, comradery, energy and determination to maximise every last drop of experiences they can.  With a sense of fun to have their shirts signed and pictures taken. Pride in peer groups continuing to support each other through social media virtually if in isolation. Pride in my community for extending offers of support for those that need it most. Pride in the education teams (both teaching & non-teaching) as well as all key workers that are ensuring that the world still turns during this chaotic time.

To the class of 2020 I want to say that today you have made me feel proud, excited that our future industry leaders have embarrassed this challenge with integrity, determination and resilience, qualities essential for professional success.  Who knows we may have a future prime minister, Nobel prize winner, authors, surgeons amongst you, however whatever the path you choose to take know that the challenges you have faced during this crisis have made you stronger, wiser and more ready for your future lives. As a professional working in an industry dedicated to talent management and career development, I cannot wait to work with this group of rising stars to support your career ambitions, I simply know the best is yet to come. 

Congratulations to the Class of 2020 – take these experiences and look into the future, drive your ambitions forward and I can not wait to see what you do next. Future industry leaders I salute you.