Forum on need for grit among young people

Panellists at the Milo Grit Advantage Forum webinar – (from left to right, top to bottom) Sheahnee Iman Lee, moderator; Timothy Johnson, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Product and Partnerships, INTI International University & Colleges; Shahzad Umar, Executive Director - Human Resources, Nestlé (M) Berhad; Ben Ho, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Talentbank; and Nina Othman, Founder of Grow the Goose and Borneo Cocoa.

KUCHING: At the Milo Grit Advantage Forum webinar on Thursday (Dec 3), Milo Malaysia convened a panel of experts from the government, education and corporate sectors, as well as start-ups to uncover values that are critical in building the ‘grit’ quotient among children and young people.

According to the recently released Milo Grit Advantage Report, ‘grit’ – the passion and perseverance for long-term and meaningful goals – was identified by 80 percent of educators and employers in Malaysia as the most important trait that drives a child’s future success.

It is an all-encompassing character trait that encapsulates the eight qualities that are critical to a child’s early development as they are to future-proof a child – courage, determination, resilience, tenacity, passion, persistence, endurance, and excellence.

However, the younger generation today suffers from a widespread deficit of grit – as evidenced by their attitude of giving up easily when faced with setbacks or failures, or switching from one interest to another without building real skills or passion.

It is also seen in the fragmented career paths or frequent job switches among young professionals, according to 79 percent of employers surveyed in the Milo Grit Advantage Report.

To this end, the forum served as a platform for experts to provide further insights into the Milo Grit Advantage Report and share game-changing perspectives on further establishing the need for grit as well as ways to nurture grit in children and young people today.

Ng Su Yen, business executive officer – Milo, Nestlé (Malaysia) Berhad.

Ng Su Yen, business executive officer – Milo, Nestlé (Malaysia) Berhad said that the Milo Grit Advantage Report, which preceded this forum, had achieved its objective of sparking conversations and building awareness of grit.

“We know the struggle that parents today face, and we hear their concerns when it comes to preparing their children for the future. As a partner to parents, we are taking the lead in equipping parents with expert insights into raising their children for the 21st century with the values of grit.

“The values children learn from a young age are the values that they take with them to adulthood. Thus, it is crucial for parents to instil grit now as a tool to future-proof their children,” she said.

The forum featured Education director-general Datuk Dr Habibah Abdul Rahim as special guest speaker among a panel of experts that included Timothy Johnson, senior vice president of Marketing, Product and Partnerships, Inti International University and Colleges; Shahzad Umar, executive director – Human Resources, Nestlé (Malaysia) Berhad; Ben Ho, founder and chief executive officer, Talentbank; and Nina Othman, founder, Grow the Goose and Borneo Cocoa.

Habibah spoke of the importance of balancing academics with cocurricular activities to achieve future success, as did every three out of four educators in the Milo Grit Advantage Report.

“Not everything can be learned in the classroom. As such, we at the Ministry of Education recognise that academic excellence is not the be-all and end-all metric for success,” she said.

She made a case for sports as a prime example of how grit can be learned outside the classroom, encouraging parents to introduce sports to their child at an early age not only for physical benefits but also for values of grit.

Education director-general Datuk Dr Habibah Abdul Rahim (right) as the special guest speaker at the ‘Milo: The Grit Advantage Forum’.

The panellists also shared the view that sport is a great teacher of grit. Qualities that can be nurtured by taking part in sport such as drive, determination, hard work and discipline are the building blocks of grit and are embodied in the never-give-up spirit, attitude and mindset of champions.

The achievement gained through sport is never immediate and is the result of years of training, perseverance and effort. To this point, the panellists agreed that sport complements academics best and is a must-have to support a child’s early development.

It was also highlighted that in the job market, well-rounded talents are preferred over those with just good grades – and that this will continue. Strong character traits are just as crucial as talents and skills in driving professional success in the future.

To find out more about the Milo Grit Advantage Report and how sport builds grit, logon to


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