Opinion: Brid O’Connell, ‘A New Wave of Reinforcements is on its Way – Look out for the Leaving Certs of 2020’

Before Covid-19, many business people aired their concerns about our millennials. Would we have a generation of young people who were strong enough to lead? Would they have the tenacity to “stick to a job”? Where was the commitment gene? Were they diligent and sufficiently adaptable to pivot and sustain the stress required to constantly reinvent to survive?  

Little did we know, the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic would change our tune.  

The generation, that had once been ridiculed for their “snowflake” tendencies, are now the generation that are likely to lead us back out to our ‘new normality’.  They are to be commended by us all. 

If you look to a generation younger, it must be acknowledged that students around the globe have sacrificed much too, due to the current health crisis, from playing sports to music gigs to just hanging out with friends. However, in Ireland, the Leaving Cert students of 2020 have sacrificed above and beyond more than most in hopes of #FlatteningTheCurve. 

The Irish education system is undoubtedly flawed but now more than ever, Covid-19 has highlighted its rigidity. Ireland is in a unique position. The inflexibility of our final year state exam makes it close to impossible to implement ‘predicted’ grades, unlike many other countries including our nearest neighbour, the United Kingdom.  

Above all, it has taught us about our youth and their ability to adapt, to see the bigger picture and to study for a prolonged period of time. Their stamina and resilience will be like nothing the workforce has seen before. Yes, the youth have acknowledged that the system isn’t fair but have chosen to adopt an ‘it is what it is attitude and to work longer and harder to reach each of their individual desired goals.  

For many young people, seeing the positives to this situation may have taken some time. Nonetheless, as April 20th marked the end of the Easter holidays and the beginning of the new school term, the Leaving Certs of 2020 saddled up to their desks once again and prepared themselves for the marathon ahead.  

The sheer tenacity that these students have shown is testament to both themselves and the future economy of Ireland. This year has reassured us that a hard-working, emotionally resilient, and committed work-force are soon to emerge from the ashes of Covid-19 and when they do, we at Guaranteed Irish will be more than proud to have these future entrepreneurs and leaders as our members and role models for the entire nation.  

These guys are a #AllTogetherBetter tribe than we heretofore gave them credit for.  

I think its time we replace the term ‘snowflake’ with ‘lionhearted’- they have earned that.  

Opinion by Brid O’Connell, CEO Guaranteed Irish.


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