Entrepreneurs: imagine a school where you’re taught about building a startup as one of your subjects. How much would that have changed your career path? Well, students at St Patrick’s College in Townsville are about to find out, with the city’s very first Startup subject expected to begin next year.
“The Startup subject is about being entrepreneurial, setting up your own business, being creative and knowing that when you do that you can make a positive impact on people,” says St Patrick’s Principal, Paulina Skerman.
Talking to Paulina, I was amazed. Not only did she have her finger on the pulse of innovation, she was also incredibly tuned into how she could best prepare her students for a future that is vastly different to any other she’s had to prepare for before.
“We have a really global approach to learning,” she says. “We know that thanks to technology the world these days is bigger than Townsville and jobs don’t exist at the moment that will in the future,”
“This subject also builds confidence. If you’re going to be a philanthropist you’re going to need financial support, you’re going to need to hook people in. It’s a little bit like that Sharktank show,” she says with a genuine smile.
So how does it work? Well, students will study their STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and mathematics as well as design and thinking processes.
As they move into year 10, they’ll look at real world, community or personal issues, with Paulina saying students have “a voice over what they want to do”.
“It’s quite different to a traditional classroom, so they won’t be assessed in the same way, even though we will be using the current syllabus as a basis,” she says. “What we want in the end is a confident, articulate woman who is going to make a meaningful contribution.”