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Ambition Schools Naked ambition


Former head and government behaviour tsar, Sir Alan Steer, discusses the nature of drive in the young – and while most have a plan in place – they need help in order to fulfil their dreams


T


en years on and the ambitions of 12 year- olds have grown. Ideas on future careers are


beginning to grow, as realisation dawns that “growing up” is a reality that will happen. Parents and teachers know that there will also be more immediately relevant hopes. For the young, sporting or artistic success will be the dreams of many. Becoming a social lion will be the fantasy of even more. A recent survey by the Ambition


AXA Awards (see box below) into the ambitions of 11 to 18 year-olds showed that children in their early teens (11 to 13 year-olds) already have a personal plan in place, with one in ten saying they are already working towards their goals. This rises considerably by the time they reach 14 to 16, with more than four in ten saying they are either extremely or very ambitious, increasing to just under half of 17 to 18 year-olds. Indeed, such is their ambition that a quarter go so far as to say they want to achieve their goal by the time they are 25, and one in two by the time they are 35. One of the many joys in being


a teacher is witnessing children working to realise their dreams. This process will not always be easy, and on occasions, may be painful, but the experience gained by everyone is invaluable. To do well personal talent is obviously important, but success may require more than even


The dual studies into ambition in young people were commissioned to support AXA’s initiative, the Ambition AXA Awards. The £200,000 awards scheme for 11-18 year- olds was launched in March to reward young UK talent


Lord Sugar with the finalists of Junior Apprentice 2010


this. High achievement is most likely to occur when the individual is self- confident and is in receipt of good advice and mentoring. Parents and teachers have a big responsibility to provide this help and to go on offering their support even when it may appear that it is making little impact. Teenage ambitions aren’t all about


building a career. Contrary to some of the negative impressions given in the media the great majority of young people are responsible and


The Ambition AXA Awards


and achievement in Enterprise, Science, Community, Sport and The Arts. Five young people could each win a bespoke mentoring prize worth up to £40,000 (a total prize fund of £200,000). The winners will be announced on 30th November 2011, after


which the judging panel will help the winners to create a development package that will help them to achieve their goals. The deadline for applications is 14th October 2011; to apply, or for more information, go to www. ambitionaxaawards.com


Children must always


dream. As adults our dreams are realised when they achieve theirs


idealistic. Often they place greater importance on moral and social values than older members of society. This presence of a strong social conscience is also confirmed by the AXA research. We should believe in


our young people and we have every reason to do so. They represent our future and they are entitled to our support and encouragement. Let us help


them to have the confidence to be


entrepreneurial, award the strength to know that failure should not be feared, but overcome. Let us encourage them to be ambitious, but also to know of their responsibilities as members of society. Children must always dream. As adults, our dreams will be realised when they achieve theirs.


Alan Steer is chairman of the judges of the Ambition AXA Awards.


www.firstelevenmagazine.co.uk Autumn 2011 FirstEleven 23





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