In 2017, Somerset held its first ever Celebration of Entrepreneurship, enlightening students in entrepreneurial practices, encouraging problem solving and teaching communication skills required to gain full time work. During the festival, I was asked by many students, teachers and parents ‘why’ are we having a festival of entrepreneurship at the College?
Here is an excerpt of a report written by Jan Owens from the Australian Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) which answers this question. In summary, the report concludes, that students need more than just a degree to be employable in the modern workforce. Instead, students need both a post-school qualification and workforce skills like entrepreneurship, communication and problem solving to successfully transition from education to full time work.
For all Somerset College parents, teachers and community members it is important that we have conversations with the children in our care about the changing nature of work to ensure that they are best prepared for life after their time at Somerset. Who would have thought that 10 years ago that the world’s largest transport company would not own any vehicles (UBER) or that the most popular media company creates no content (Facebook).
For at least the past century, Australia’s promise to our young people has been that education is their ‘golden ticket’ to a full-time job. That promise is now at risk.
The New Work Reality Report reveals that young Australians face a number of significant barriers when seeking full-time work. When FYA removed common activities that young people do, such as gap years and returning for further education to look more deeply at the period they found it took on average 2.6 years to transition from leaving education to full time work in 2015, compared to one year in 1986. The reality is while nearly 60 per cent of young Australians aged 25 hold a post-school qualification, 50 per cent of them are unable to secure more than 35 hours of work per week, which classifies them to be full time employed (ABS definition). It also shows that on the journey to reach full-time work, an estimated 21 per cent work full time hours in casual employment, and 18 per cent do so through multiple jobs.
FYA found that four significant factors can speed up a young person’s transition from education to full time work. These are:
• Entrepreneurship skills: courses that teach enterprise skills (such as problem-solving, communication and teamwork) can increase the speed of attaining full time work by 17 months.
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• Relevant paid employment: combining studying and working in a job that is within your desired job cluster can speed up the transition. By working 2,000 hours in a relevant job a young person can accelerate the transition by five months, and by working 5,000 hours a young person can accelerate the transition by 12 to 18 months.
• Future focused clusters: by choosing employment with a strong future focus a young person can speed up the transition by five months. FYA's previous research identified three clusters of jobs that are more future focused: The Carers, The Technologists and The Informers young people who chose work within these clusters transitioned faster.
• An optimistic mindset: A young person who is happy with their career prospects begins working full time hours two months faster than a young person who is not happy with their career prospects. Mindset and wellbeing can greatly impact the opportunities that a young person perceives are available to them.