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Young People and their Digital Badges

Ever since I was a child, having my achievements validated meant a lot to me. The reward triggered a part of my brain and helped shape what behaviours I responded better to over time. It has moulded me into who I am.

From the rainbow chart to earn a bit of respite after a week of arduous YR 1 play-time, to a certificate for being good enough to write in pen, all the way through to the achievement of putting together your own Trading Card club during Secondary School where shy and insular people could spend time playing Yu-Gi-Oh or Pokémon trading cards and being recognised through this by your peers. It all shapes you.

Scouting and Girl Guide organisations have known this for a long time, teaching people skills that are vital to life and survival in circumstances that - for our modern world - seem far away from ever becoming a reality.  People rarely find knot tying an essential skill in the work place, or being able to put up a tent, but when you are in a situation when problem solving is called upon, your knowledge of such a thing becomes invaluable, especially if you can step up and become a leader.

The point is – without something like a badge to recognise this, or without people praising you for your achievements, you easily forget why what you have done is worth something. Digital badges are a great solution for this.

For instance, with my Generation E digital consultant badge, I have been pulled into many focus groups for companies. I have given my perspective on the best way to interact with, appeal to and hire young talent. I spoke with an online event company about how they could best promote themselves. All of it became a great story to tell.

But when you do these things, you don’t always understand what skills you have used, or the gravity of it all. When you come to write your CV you can remember the activity but what were the skills? That is when you look at the badge itself. It breaks down everything you have done, the skills, the experience, why you have earnt it. It gives you the words to tell the story and sell the experience, in turn, showing why you should be considered for the role.

The skills from the two meetings I spoke in and experienced helped with conducting meetings with a whole host of other organisations and people. It unleashed a well of confidence, all from understanding what I had done and that I had done it elsewhere without realising, breaking down the barrier I had with confidence and opening my mind to new experiences.

I struggled with my confidence during my experiences with Generation E and while earning my badges. Now I feel I have a brighter future. Digital badges offer a platform for those who are learning and teaching themselves in their free time to grow and feel achievement, as well as have local businesses recognise the talent in their area.

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