Let’s face it. Keeping a room full of sports-fanatic high-school kids interested in business skills training is a tall order.
But that’s exactly what Mhairi MacLeod of Astute Ability Finance Group did recently. She delivered her five-day Young Entrepreneurs Program to a group of Year 10 students at the International Football and Tennis School in Kariong.
And certainly earned a seal of approval. Every student said they’d recommend the program to their peers. They loved it.
“As the first day went by we all got engaged as we realised how good it was. The professionalism of presenting it… we all went wow, this isn’t some boring little presentation” said one student.
The kids were the first to admit they didn’t think they were into business. But now, that’s all changed. Being given the opportunity to learn about how to start a business and the ins-and-outs of running one excites them.
“Before, I didn’t think about starting my own business. But now I’ve seen the positives – it’s opened up my eyes. I’d definitely run my own business” another student said.
Hearing Mhairi’s business success story first-hand made quite an impact on the students. Her story is grounded in hard truths, real-life facts and inspiration. And it opened the minds of the students to a world of possibility that exists beyond the safety of the school walls.
“It’s not an opportunity I’ve had before. It was interesting to explore the business world”.
The students are now looking at their future through different eyes. And while they were keen to get back onto the football field or tennis court, when speaking with them, it was evident that a golden seed of opportunity had been planted in their minds. It’ll take a few years to grow, but the seed has taken root.
In the future when they’re out in the working world, they’ll use the information they learned in this program.
“It’s opened up a new spectrum of things I might want to do. Now I’ve seen what Mhairi has done, I think about what I could do to get to where she is when I finish school.”
And the kids are thinking of options far wider than just the finance industry too.
“I find it cool to make clothes, and my idea is around that. It’s now a possibility”.
They have learned valuable skills. And, they have realised that they can run a business themselves if they have the drive and passion for seeing it through. They understand the need for a wider skillset if they want to work in a small business because you must take on a variety of roles.
The teachers were delighted to see the students become so engaged in the program content. They were surprised at the level of interest and the depth of the students’ ideas and research in their course-end presentations. It was evident that the students were paying more than just lip service to the program – they genuinely loved it.
And, as their teacher observed, it was the perfect complement to their current business studies subject. The program also demonstrated the real-world value that the business studies elective offers if they select it as an HSC subject.
The school reinforced the Young Entrepreneurs Program by sending the students to work experience placements at community businesses. And the students loved the experience, reporting that they noticed more of the business operations than they would have if they hadn’t attended the program first.
So what does the future hold for these kids? Like most Year 10 students, they are focused on their immediate future. But it’s apparent that the program has sparked their imaginations as they begin to think about what they’d like to do when they finish school. Their eyes are now wide open, and their future is full of possibility.