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Finger Lickin’ Good Foundation Tackles Australia’s Youth Crisis

24 May 2018 at 9:00 am
Wendy Williams
Nearly half of Australian young people are experiencing a lack of self-confidence every day according to new research released to coincide with the launch of the KFC Youth Foundation.

Wendy Williams | 24 May 2018 at 9:00 am


Finger Lickin’ Good Foundation Tackles Australia’s Youth Crisis
24 May 2018 at 9:00 am

Nearly half of Australian young people are experiencing a lack of self-confidence every day according to new research released to coincide with the launch of the KFC Youth Foundation.

Fast food giant KFC Australia launched the foundation on Thursday, with a goal to raise $1 million in its first year to help build youth confidence.

The foundation will work to raise funds for five selected partners – Reach, Youngcare, StreetWork, Whitelion and ReachOut – via in-store donation boxes, as well as an online donations page on Good2Give.

It comes as the inaugural KFC Youth Confidence Report revealed there was “a confidence deficit” affecting Australia’s young people.

“There’s an epidemic of uncertainty and doubt affecting Australia’s young people and like Hawkeye in an Avengers movie, it has largely gone unnoticed,” the report said.

KFC Australia managing director Nikki Lawson told Pro Bono News the findings were “unacceptable”.

“I think when you look at the report the results take you aback,” Lawson said.

“I feel really blessed that I didn’t grow up in an era of social media and the pressures facing young people today.

“We see it in our restaurants, we’ve heard it from our team members, so in some ways we’re not totally surprised but to think almost half of young Australians feel they lack confidence every day or almost everyday and then the number was in the high 80s of older Australians who actually think the youth of Australia are more confident than they have ever been, is probably the key factor that says there’s something big happening here and we need to take it seriously.”

According to the survey, which was conducted online amongst a sample of 1,003 Australian youth aged 16 to 24 years, 46 per cent of Australian young people said they were experiencing a lack of confidence within themselves almost every day.

Two-thirds said they saw their future as “bleak”, stating they didn’t feel like they had a lot to look forward to in life.

Nearly half (44 per cent) said that while they had a desire to develop more confidence in themselves, they had no idea how to realise this dream, with almost one in five respondents saying they did not feel confident enough to speak with anyone about the state of their mental health.

These figures contrasted with how young people were perceived by older Australians, 86 per cent of whom said they saw the nation’s youth as more confident than their counterparts 30 years ago.

“This is concerning as many of those best positioned to help are older Australians, leaving it a largely unacknowledged and unaddressed issue,” the report said.

Lawson said they hoped the new foundation would help “as many young Australians as possible” have the confidence, skills and support they need to succeed “to build a brighter, more confident future for Australia”.

“KFC has a long history of instilling confidence in young people. We hire thousands of young people in the country – over 35,000 actually – and have seen the difference that confidence makes in their lives,” she said.

“The KFC Youth Foundation is an incredibly exciting opportunity to go beyond our restaurants and help to foster confidence in more young Australians.”

She said it was a cause that was close to KFC’s heart.

“We’ve been talking to our partners for the last three years around what is our sweet spot. What is the one area that truly is something that’s really personal to all of us and that, we can not just commit funds to, but we can commit time, energy, heart and really make a difference,” Lawson said.

“We landed on this: how do we commit to building confidence in Australian youth, and the foundation is obviously going to be the vehicle we will use to drive that.

“When people under 25 make up 90 per cent of your team, it’s clearly a no-brainer.”

The company aims to extend existing in-house confidence initiatives to help empower Australian youth beyond the restaurant walls.

Lawson said she was in a lucky position.

“When you head up an organisation like KFC you’ve got the means to be able to make a big difference,” she said.

“When I look at our really successful franchise partners, our really successful restaurant managers, it’s all people that have a passion to see young people grow and that’s in our business. And I guess we’ve seen the amazing impact of that.

“What I’m excited about is the opportunity for us now not just to have an impact with the 35,000 young people we deal with but with all young Australians. I think if we breed a generation of young Australians that are confident and supported, we can build a more successful Australia and the impact that can have for the country at large [is] incredible.”

Wendy Williams  |  Editor  |  @WendyAnWilliams

Wendy Williams is a journalist specialising in the not-for-profit sector and broader social economy. She has been the editor of Pro Bono News since 2018.

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