Teachers take the wheel to develop entrepreneurial skills to drive change in the classroom

Published by Kris Christou on

At Startup Business International, we value the continuation of learning in our personal and professional lives. Recently, we held two Professional Learning Workshops at the Sydney Startup Hub, where teachers from across Australia got the opportunity to hear from industry greats, academics and program alumni. The workshop was held to prepare teachers to deliver the ‘Entrepreneurial Learning in Action’ program within their own schools.

“The ability to access resources via Canvas and to connect to the community who are also implementing the program was great. To know I can reach out to the facilitators and keynote speakers is really encouraging. We have a clearer idea of how we will set the event up as a college and work as a team to implement the coursework.”

– Ash, Great Lakes College Tuncurry Campus, NSW

The experience was a role-reversal for these teachers scribbling down notes like their students back at their schools, they also got the opportunity to learn in action by participating in an idea sprint. At the end of the two day workshop, teachers were able to pitch their own idea relating to the UN’s Sustainability Goals just like their students will be!

The reason we give teachers the opportunity to go through these workshops is to help them understand the relevance and importance of entrepreneurial skills. These skills will help inform their teaching and therefore their students’ learning and give insight on how to implement and deliver the program for a sustained impact.

“The workshops were a terrific opportunity to learn more about the program and how to best implement this within my context. I came away open to the possibilities this program can bring within my school.”

– Chantal and Liz, York District High School, WA.

Below is a summary of what the teachers went through on their Professional Learning journey with us:

Day 1

Session 1 – Dr Phil Lambert PSM has extensive experience in education, leading the development of Australia’s first National Curriculum as General Manager of Australian Curriculum. He is also recognised internationally as an expert in curriculum and was appointed by the OECD to work on the Education 2030 Project. Phil’s insight into entrepreneurship and it’s place in the curriculum provided scope on the value of entrepreneurship and innovation and the necessary skills students need to be prepared for future work.

Session 2 – Gavin Saul Head Teacher of Agriculture at Kempsey High School has been involved in the Entrepreneurial Learning in Action program since its inception in 2018. His insight into the challenges and opportunities of the program proved extremely valuable for teachers who are embarking on the journey for the first time. The focus was on the value add of skill development for students and connections to industry. Gavin highlighted the importance of just diving into the program and the resulting change in mindset it provided for himself and the school, which led to the development of a strategic plan for sustainable integration of the program across the entire Agricultural program impacting students from year 7 right through to year 12.

“In order to enhance the opportunities available to our students, we chose to deliver the ‘learning in action’ entrepreneurial program as part of the extra-curricular activities as it is all about recognising a problem in the industry and developing an entrepreneurial mind-set; an edge we wanted to give our students to prepare them for the future work to be innovators, leaders and problem solvers.”

– Gavin Saul, Kempsey High School, NSW

Session 3 – John Wesgarth, Agile Coach as Food Agility built his career working in the innovation, education and government spaces. His presentation highlights the value of starting small and having a big impact using regionally specific examples of combating issues of technology in agriculture and provided many examples of projects being run throughout regional NSW.

Session 4 & 5 – Brian Dorricott is a qualified Electronic Engineer who is a serial entrepreneur working to mentor individuals from idea validation, through to company formation for hyper growth. His experience with the CSIRO ON Prime Program unlocks his experience working with academia to benefit from ideas. His first workshop on Pitching took teachers on a journey of what it’s like to pitch to investors and clearly articulate your idea, solution and ask. His Problem Solving Masterclass led teachers to interview members of the public using scientific inquiry to validate and qualify ideas leading to supporting teachers to have the framework they need to go through the sprint workshop at the end of day 2.

“The workshop was an amazing experience to get hands on in implementing the program into my school. This program excites me as students will be able to develop new and innovative ideas, I can’t wait to see what they will come up with. My students are ready and excited to start this program and think it will be fantastic to have some excellent local mentors involved.”

– Sarah, Maclean High School, NSW

Teachers heard from national industry experts in innovation to unpack the importance of industry, government and academia working together to solve problems with a particular focus on regional areas. Day 1 closed with teachers understanding the value of identifying relevant problems and having the practical nous of pitching their ideas.

Day 2 – Delivered by Liz Jackson – Education & Program Director, Startup Business International

Session 1 – During this session, teachers were taken through the program expectations from initial on boarding to the National festival. This session provided teachers the opportunity to be guided through the online platform to understand the scope of resources and materials available for use in their respective classrooms.

Session 2 – During this session, teachers were given the opportunity to plan what the program would look like and develop a draft scope and sequence for implementation including launch, mentor visits, industry focus and pitch competition. Peer-to-peer learning took place and teachers were able to leverage the knowledge and expertise of support teachers from career and executive backgrounds. By the end of the session teachers developed an MVP of the program specific to their needs.

Session 3: During this session, teachers were taken through a sprint from identifying a local problem to pitching their ideas to a panel of industry judges. This experience was relevant for teachers to empathise with the journey their students will embark on to deliver their own version of a pitch.

“We hope this program will allow us to make stronger connections to the wine and manufacturing industries and will be a great way to engage our students in entrepreneurial skills for the future… When we were first told we had to do a pitch, we were very nervous, but I think it was very beneficial for the process as we will be asking our students to do the same task!”

– Kylie and Helen, St Joseph’s College Lochinvar

We loved the opportunity to see these teachers shine in an environment which is daunting for most. The Entrepreneurial Learning in Action program was created to give teachers the opportunity to give their students a different mindset when learning and we are confident they will create the most brilliant ideas with the help of their teachers.