How to teach enterprise skills in the classroom

How to teach enterprise skills in the classroom

“This is the stuff our students need to know. They need to understand how to analyse Facebook to target their marketing strategy to the most preferable demographic. It needs to be current and it needs to be relevant.”

Susan McCowan is a teacher at St Philip’s College in the Northern Territory.

Susan McCowan

Susan runs the $20 Boss program with her Year 11 cohort, aiming to equip her students with the necessary skills to survive and prosper in the future of work.


As much as people need to have technical skills in order to become a Veterinarian, a Scientist or a Lawyer, many employers are increasingly seeking employees with critical thinking, communication, problem solving, creativity, teamwork, presentation skills and financial and digital literacy. 

These skills are fast becoming important for young people who will need them to thrive in the future of work, and the Foundation for Young Australian’s New Basics report shows that employers are willing to pay up to $8000 more a year for them. 

“The program lets students build their digital literacy, be enterprising, present, and be creative, and I think young people need to understand and use these skills. “

The $20 Boss program framework helps Susan to support students to build their enterprise skills and ensure they are able to recognise and talk about these capabilities.

“I have just designed the next assessment for this particular cohort, and it’s focused on social media. If you look on there are jobs paying thousands a year for a social media specialist. So digital literacy skills are clearly becoming more important and I’m getting the kids to realise that this is an essential part of the future of work.”

Susan’s class has lead to the creation of many businesses including Street Ball Association –  a grassroots social enterprise which focuses on bringing young people together and tackling youth incarceration; Garden Gravy – a manure business aiming to raise awareness of the poor conditions farm animals are kept and reared in; and Anti-vexed Text – a text message subscription service which messages every morning with positive quotes and/or stress relieving strategies.

By trying to embed enterprise learning in classrooms Susan has pushed herself as well as her students.  

“I felt it provided me with a professional development opportunity, because I was able to collaborate and integrate the resources with my own class work” Susan says. 

The program has been running at St Philip’s for 3 years, and has had continued impact beyond the year 11 classroom.

“There’s been a number of students that have pursued higher education in business-related fields. Whether it’s analysing potential for a social cause within the Alice Springs community, or whether it is unpacking market research and finding out opportunities that they can capitalise on –  the program opens their minds up and encourages them to innovate in a business context.”

Are you are an educator or industry professional and interested in finding out different ways to implement and embed enterprise skills in your workplace? Register your interest in $20 Boss today. 



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