In our fast-paced world, entrepreneurial and enterprising skills are in increasing demand. Innovation has the potential to play a critical role in our global economic recovery post COVID.
A NCVER report on The Role of VET in the Entrepreneurial Eco-System revealed that…. “…there is a general consensus that strengthening ‘enterprise skills’ — problem-solving, self-reliance, initiative, risk taking, flexibility, creativity — is essential and is strongly supported by business.”
The Foundation of Young Australians’ New Basics report shows that young people with enterprising skills are more in demand and more likely to earn higher wages.
As young people develop enterprise skills, they develop their social and emotional intelligence, creative and critical thinking, intercultural understanding and empathy.
Here are four examples of how young people are developing future-ready entrepreneurial and enterprising skills across Victoria.
MMLLEN’s Big Ideas Day
Recently Murray Mallee LLEN hosted a ‘Big Ideas Day’ to bring together local young people and workshop their entrepreneurial ideas.
Mikayla Zanker, Project/Communications Officer at Murray Mallee LLEN, partnered with the iGen Foundation to deliver the event. According to Mikayla, the day involved canvassing ideas and evolving them into actionable next steps: “You start out with an idea, which could be anything. Then you go through the problem and the solution. Then you get to: “what’s your elevator pitch? How are you going to make this happen and where are you going to go from here?”
The event saw a diverse range of students – some came from schools and training organisations and others had finished school and were in the various stages of launching their own business.
One student in attendance was prototyping an idea to make safety/alert bracelets for women out of recycled plastic to reduce waste. She worked through the process of bringing this idea to life and formulated the foundations of a business plan. “It was really good to hear her growth throughout the day as she worked out what she was going to do [next]”, said Mikayla. .
A group of boys from the local secondary school came up with an idea for bringing music and hip hop to Swan Hill. They felt there was often not very much for young people to do in the area. The group connected with a representative of the iGen foundation, who was able to link them in with another group that had come up with a very similar initiative.
The day was a key opportunity for young people to connect with local mentors.
“The local mentors were really important because we wanted to show the young people in our community that if they had any questions, or if they had any ideas but they just weren’t sure where to go to, they have local people that they can turn to” -Mikayla Zanker, Project/Communications Officer at Murray Mallee LLEN
The mentors in attendance included:
- A local jewellery maker who had started selling from the back of her car and grown into one of the major local businesses
- A local bookkeeper, who gave advice on the financial logistics of starting a business.
- A representative of the economic development department at Council.
Participants also learned the fundamentals for setting up a business including the financial packages and requirements to register and the types of financial support available. The day was also an opportunity for young people to connect with the iGen foundation, who have an ongoing interest in helping bring young people’s ideas to life and expressed an interest in following up with the progress on these ideas at a later stage.
The Big Ideas Day assisted young people to build lifelong networks, connections and skills to ensure they can continue to explore entrepreneurial opportunities into the future.
CRLLEN Project Ready’s Community Entrepreneurial Project Unit
Project Ready is a school-based work readiness and personal development program for year 9 and 10 students. As part of the Project Ready program, students undertake a Community Entrepreneurial Project. Students come up with an entrepreneurial solution to a key social issue in the community, undertaking all necessary planning steps to see their project come to life.
This year, the Gisborne Secondary College Project Ready group started their own social enterprise selling plants, pots and art. The profits from sales are being used to cook for local community members and purchase Weetbix for a local animal shelter.
They are using social media to request community donations of supplies and to sell their creations.
The INLLEN New Economy Enterprise Curriculum
The New Economy Enterprise Curriculum program is an initiative delivered in schools as part of the VCAL program. It empowers VCAL students to learn entrepreneurial skills while solving key challenges in their community.
The curriculum was co-created with local innovators and teachers for VCAL students in Year 11 at the Intermediate Level, but has since become a curriculum across all VCAL levels – Foundation, Intermediate and Senior. It is a systemic response to enable teachers, local councils, innovators and young people to research, create and develop social and environmental innovations for their local community.
According to Louise, head VCAL teacher at Fitzroy High School: “It’s been incredibly empowering for them – it’s giving them skills that they can feel and touch and see”
The students in her class have come up with ideas such as a ‘pay as you go’ food truck which prevents food waste and an app where you can be safely matched with housemates.
Louise has been amazed by how engaged the students are with this project. Even during the lockdowns, when remote learning was the only option, her class was seeing a 100% attendance rate: “they’re turning up, they’re working in their groups, they’re really grabbing it”
Another student group working within the New Economy Enterprise Curriculum is looking to create a mobile app that’s “for students, by students.” Charlie is an Architect from Atlassian, Australia’s biggest tech company. He is working with the group as a mentor, drawing on his technical skillset to help them bring their idea to life.
Youth Enterprise Hub Manager, Viv Sercombe believes these real life skills and direct application within their community may just contribute and drive the post COVID recovery via their enthusiasm and passion, even when they are in lockdown.
“As a community of learners, we have all been inspired by emerging possibilities, of students being supported by mentors and teachers willing to explore and support these new initiatives coming directly from students. There is real purpose and meaning in what we are all undertaking and directly applicable for a New Future Economy.” – Viv Sercombe, Youth Enterprise Hub Manager
Problems that Matter – Footscray Community Design Thinking Project
The “Problems That Matter” initiative was a local addition to the school curriculum co-designed between, teachers, students, industry and community.
Students, teachers and industry partners used Design Thinking to identify and respond to the problems that mattered within their community.
As part of an exploratory learning project, students researched key community issues and workshopped innovations to support local solutions, simultaneously developing future-focused, transferable skills.
The “Problems That Matter” initiative was developed and delivered by the Maribyrnong and Moonee Valley LLEN, in partnership with The Footscray Learning Precinct (a collaboration of primary schools, and a multi-campus secondary school, Victoria University and Maribyrnong City Council).
Why VicLLENs are in support of more young people developing entrepreneurial skills and pathways
The Youth Enterprise Hub is a coalition of eight interested LLENS from across the state. They have formed to explore youth enterprise and entrepreneurship opportunities within their local contexts.
In the recently proposed Senior Secondary reforms, the VicLLENs Youth Enterprise Hub is in support of the integration of entrepreneurial capabilities as part of the new VCE Vocational Specialisation stream.
The Hub is committed to supporting the implementation of building youth enterprise and entrepreneurship into the vocational specialisation stream through several measures, including:
- Providing an articulated framework and professional learning opportunities for schools, teachers and communities
- Offering research, exemplars, resources and linkages to support schools in their understanding and delivery of a youth enterprise and entrepreneurial curriculum
- Facilitating partnerships with local businesses and enterprises to support and enhance the curriculum offering
- Building strong partnerships with leading entrepreneurial networks across the state
Read more about the Youth Enterprise Hub’s Reform Recommendations here.