Here in Australia, we’re lucky to have access to an amazing education system, and in the Illawarra, our schools have a great reputation.
But sometimes children need different options in order to thrive. Perhaps they get easily distracted in a large classroom of kids, or maybe their zone of genius is in exploring new technology, rather than their reading, writing, and arithmetic.
In the years since I finished school, things have definitely changed. Back then, it felt like your options were to go to university, do an apprenticeship or get a job in a shop. It was a time when the wonders of the world wide web were only just beginning to reveal themselves, and when holding your very own Hotmail email account felt like a ticket to the future.
Fast forward 20 or so years (ahem!), and the digital age has changed the options available, and opened up a whole new world for creating a different career pathway beyond the traditional.
And it means the skills of entrepreneurship are more important than ever.
Having the knowledge to start your own business - whether that’s selling products and services, or developing new technology like apps - can create amazing opportunities for young people.
So, where can you turn if your child is at home buzzing with ideas beyond the obvious, and you’re struggling to help them?
Whether your kids are 7 or 18, they might have creative ideas around developing an app, or creating an environmentally-friendly solution to the daily ‘war on waste’. Or maybe they just seem a bit bored at school, and you’re seeking new ways to keep them interested in learning.
Carmen Rudd, the founder of Wollongong’s Zig Zag Hub, says their Young Entrepreneurs Programs are all about helping kids to explore new ideas in a safe and supportive space. Giving them a place where they can learn skills for life, while developing their ideas and learning new ways to apply them.
“Our programs give kids the freedom to explore their ideas, and to interact with other kids of different ages, and our experienced young facilitators. It’s about building their entrepreneurial mindset, and helping them to thrive outside of a traditional classroom setting,” says Carmen.
The skills of entrepreneurship are the skills that can set a young person up for life. Problem-solving and creative thinking. Presenting with confidence and connecting with new people. Communicating clearly and adapting ideas.
“A young person being raised to be entrepreneurial will likely progress well in whatever career path they take. The economy needs leaders, thinkers and doers. It needs resourcefulness and resilience, and that will never change” - Forbes.com.
Carmen says the creativity of the kids who take part in their programs never fails to impress her:
“The ideas these children are coming with are fantastic. Their curious minds are full of creativity, and we encourage them to think big. The excitement in the room when they’re sharing their ideas and brainstorming is such a buzz. Our programs are structured, but with enough freedom for kids to be able to explore the things which most interest them. It’s a great way to compliment the skills they’re developing at school, in a friendly and relaxed environment.”
Naz Barrett of Design Kit Creative is a local parent who has experienced first hand the impact of Zig Zag Hub’s Young Entrepreneurs Program on her kids, who are in Year 2 and Year 5, and have been taking part in the program during Term 1, 2021.
She was looking for a way to foster an entrepreneurial mindset in her kids, and to encourage their creative ideas.
“We love the kids’ school, but we were looking for something where they could really expand their ideas and have fun at the same time. My daughter in Year 2 and son in Year 5 both started the program this term, and they’ve absolutely loved it,” says Naz.
“They’re two very different kids and they’re interested in different things, but the teachers have been great at supporting them, adapting programs to suit their individual learning styles, and making it fun and challenging. They’ve both loved connecting with a new group of kids and seeing their ideas develop.”
Marion Teao’s daughter Sophia has been part of the Young Entrepreneur Program at Zig Zag Hub, and has used it to launch her business ‘Fussy’.
‘’I would recommend the program to any parent out there, with children who have a mind full of ideas. The Young Entrepreneurs Program opens up their little minds to explore further into what they have already imagined,’’ says Marion.
Zig Zag Hub runs its Young Entrepreneur Programs during term time throughout the school year, and they have programs for primary school and secondary school kids. To learn more, you can contact them at email@example.com or on 0423 809 680.
Zig Zag Hub accepts Creative Kids vouchers, and the programs are run out of their kid-friendly site on Crown St, in Wollongong.
Find out more at https://www.zigzaghub.com.au/skill-development-school-students