Yesterday, my Opportunities Manager, Shannon Fleming and I opened a wonderful education conference in Adelaide. In a stunning turn of events, we spoke about young people and the importance of teaching students enterprising skills.
The feedback from a few individuals today was quite mixed. In particular, the views of representatives from traditional educational institutions were very different to mine.
I recognise that not every single child is going to want to become an entrepreneur and start a business. That’s OK. Enterprise skills are transdisciplinary and the skills young people can pick up from being in business are priceless and can be utilised across multiple subject areas and industries.
According to the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA), the jobs of the future demand enterprising skills 70 percent more than the jobs of the past so today, I thought I’d write a rather raw piece on why I firmly believe that business skills should be taught in every single school classroom around the world.
- Communication: In life, being able to communicate is fundamental. Whether that be via drafting an email, speaking at a conference or negotiating on the phone, practising soft skills can take you very far. The art of public speaking for example, getting up on a stage and speaking to a group of people can be incredibly intimidating. Up until six months ago, I was thoroughly petrified of speaking on a stage. As soon as I got over that fear, I felt a strong sense of pride and confidence. In business, communication is at the very core of everything. We have to draft emails, pitch to customers and negotiate with suppliers on a regular basis. Pitching your idea to mum and dad is one thing but pitching to a complete stranger is a totally different game. Through starting a business, we indirectly learn what the wider world is like, we learn to take feedback and how to overcome challenges. [Teaching Students in Port Lincoln, SA Communication Skills]
- Goal Setting: If the mind can conceive it, you can achieve it. Imagine having to shoot an arrow without being given a target. Where would you aim? In business, setting goals provides direction and gives you a target or benchmark to meet. No business has ever thrived without having set goals. Goals take us forward in life. The same goes for individuals, if you don’t set goals, you have nothing to aspire towards. Goals give you focus and help you understand that it is always within your power to be whatever it is you want to be.
- Financial Literacy: There’s a very big difference between the idea of wanting money and wanting to make money. I remember as an (even younger) child when I would receive monetary birthday gifts from family members, my immediate thoughts were based around how quickly I could spend it. When I actually had to earn that money, it was a totally different thought process and my thinking was predominantly focused around how can I best spend this money. When we’re making our own money, we gain a sense of appreciation of what it takes to earn and the mental value of those dollars rise significantly. We understand what it takes to earn money and how easy it is to spend thus we develop a budget. In turn, once again, we indirectly pick up financial literacy skills at a very grassroots level. We don’t learn this through a textbook or in a classroom, but we learn this through experimentation.
Business and entrepreneurial skills clearly embody elements of every industry. Yet, in the schools of today, young people are taught to focus on one career path for their future. Career guidance in schools needs to be completely reimagined and instead of it being solely based around ‘job preparation’, we must transition this guidance to ‘future preparation’ and help young people understand that enterprising skills are fundamental for growth and development in our innovation economy.
Register your child for a Business Camp today: www.businesscamp.com.au!