Townsville youths at risk of unemployment are being taught the entrepreneurial skills to start their own microbusiness through a new government funded program.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics annual average labour force data for June, Townsville’s youth unemployment rate was 17 percent — almost 2 percent above the state average. It is hoped that this percentage could be reversed through a new Creating Your Future Job program delivered by the Australian School of Entrepreneurship (ASE), a social enterprise that helps develop the entrepreneurial skills of school students and young entrepreneurs who have a passion for innovation.
“Our mission is to provide every young person with the skills, resources and mindset they need to start their very own business, regardless of their postcode,” explains ASE founder and CEO, Taj Pabari.
“Both ASE and the State Government identified the alarming youth unemployment rates in Townsville, and so we came from Brisbane to trial the Creating Your Future Job program.”
Creating Your Future Job is ASE’s new 16-week program that provides disengaged and business-interested high school students with the mentoring and seed funding required to begin their own start-up in today’s evolving world. The program will soon be commencing its eighth week and has received funding from the State’s Department of Employment, Small Business and Training.
“We have over 100 students across our schools in this cohort – we are working with Pimlico State High School (SHS), Kirwan SHS, Thuringowa SHS and a group of our Indigenous Business boys,” he continues.
“When they leave us after 16 weeks, they’ve got a validated business idea, and they’ve already gone out and made sales and made revenue.”
Over the 16-week period, students receive between four and seven hours of in-person mentoring each week, as well as ongoing support and evaluations over the next year. Some examples of student businesses include an app designed to promote sustainability, digital marketing, videography services, and gardening businesses.
“By targeting a category of vulnerable students and getting them involved with the program, they are able to find something they are passionate about, identify a community problem, and from this create a microbusiness solution,” notes Taj.
Tionne Young, who is a Program Manager at ASE, explains how the Creating Your Future Job program has a key focus on teaching skills such as collaboration and public speaking, all of which she believes should be a mandatory component of the primary and secondary curriculum.
“We teach skills such as collaboration and public speaking, which will always be an integral part of the workforce,” she explains.
“It is so important to teach these skills to enable youth to be adaptable and employable in the future.”
A new piece of research conducted by The Australian School of Entrepreneurship found that Australian employers are demanding three core skills: Communication and Interpersonal skills, Collaboration and Teamwork, and Creativity and Curiosity.
“Any job or task that can be simplified down to a series of logical and sequential steps, will be automated and replaced by technology much sooner than we all think,” continues Tionne.
“That is why it is so important we teach students about people skills and skills that are innately human.”
The Australian School of Entrepreneurship has delivered programs for more than 90,000 young people across Australia, and Tionne notes how without programs such as Creating Your Future Job, the youth unemployment rates will continue to spiral.
“In many cases, we have found that the students who are most disengaged from traditional mainstream education, are actually the ones who come alive at the prospect of ‘being their own boss’,” she continues.
“We see them go from disengaged students to confident youth who are running their own successful businesses and contributing to the local economy, which provides them with a great basis for their futures.”
You can find more information on The Australian School of Entrepreneurship at https://ase.edu.au
By Georgie Desailly for BDmag.