There are 4.3 million young people in Australia today, by 2053 this is predicted to rise to 6.3 million.
Almost one-third of these young people are un or underemployed – the highest rate of underutilisation in Australia in over 40 years.
Automation and globalisation are changing the way we work, and as a result we have seen a growth in insecure, casual work and a decrease in full-time, entry level positions. Now more than ever before we need to ensure that young people are equipped with the skills and capabilities to navigate this future.
There’s an urgent need for our country to more readily invest in job creation to secure our economic future. But with small business delivering over 30% of Australia’s GDP there’s also a strong economic case for supporting young people to become to job builders and creators – not just seekers.
Recent data shows that more than 69% of young people dream of starting their own business, but half feel they need more skills and training to make their ideas a reality.
Here are five programs which are working to help make young people’s dream a reality:
$20 Boss is the largest national enterprise education program in Australia. Working with over 27,000 students across Australia since 2015, the program has seen the development of over 9,000 businesses by year 7-10 students. It works by giving students $20 at the start of a school term, helping them to incubate and launch a business that addresses a community issue and then pay back the $20 with $1 interest.
85% of students who have participated in $20 Boss say they would consider running a business in the future and 88% of teachers who use $20 Boss say they feel their students develop financial literacy skills, teamwork and project management.
The Young Enterprise Scheme (YES), a New Zealand initiative, sees young people receive in-school enterprise education through classroom resources and programs such as business planning, managing personal finances, and market days. Facilitated experiences include a three day business bootcamp for Year 11 students and insurance days introducing young people to the concepts of risk and reward to name a couple. In 2017, over 800 companies and businesses were established through the YES program, with over 3500 students involved in the various activities and programs YES runs.
The Australian Centre for Rural Entrepreneurship (ACRE) promotes young people to become job creators through the Social Enterprise Academy – an international model for educating young people in social entrepreneurship. In schools, students create a business that has a social purpose and reinvest profits into the local community. During 2017, ACRE delivered enterprise and leadership programs to over 1,000 young people, and 25 social enterprises were created. In addition, 120 people from a cross-section of the community were trained to build an environment and community that supports entrepreneurship in rural areas.
Enabling Enterprise was founded in England in 2009 by a group of teachers who discovered their young students were graduating without the necessary skills to navigate the changing world of work. The program works with ages 4 to 18 years old, and features multiple industry touch points including bringing business and work into the classroom through project-based learning and challenge days, and also by taking students out of the classroom and into the working world through day trips. In 2017, the program worked with over 85,000 students across the country, almost double since 2015.
Generation Entrepreneur is a organisation aimed at helping young people create their own work and jobs, while teaching them the enterprise skills they need along the way. The project was formed by two high school students who felt they were only being prepared to be workers in established jobs, rather than innovating new work opportunities and ideas. They use a large network of entrepreneurs and mentors to run tailored events in entrepreneurship for schools.