The formal education system is a slow-moving beast. What we teach and how we teach is out of step with the true economic needs of our young workers. We’re growing a generation of teenagers whose education disempowers teens. I want to change that.

The formal education system is a slow-moving beast. What we teach and how we teach is out of step with the true economic needs of our young workers. We’re growing a generation of teenagers whose education disempowers, rather than empowers them to achieve in the new world economy.

And it isn’t just me saying that.

Globally, we’re facing the biggest disruption to the world of work since the industrial revolution:  More than 50% of the workforce are in jobs that will be affected by automation  Nearly 60% of students are currently studying for occupations may not exist in the future  A 15 year old today will work at least 17 jobs across 5 industries Employers are demanding enterprising skills, which are considered as important as role specific technical skills.  A third of Australian 15 year olds lack adequate financial literacy and problem solving skills and a quarter demonstrate low proficiency in digital literacy.

I suspect (and data will support this) that teens are engaging less in services like Contiki Tours, Leavers’ Weeks and pub crawls, and choosing instead to launch a start-up from their backyard, selling their self-designed tshirt range at the local farmers’ market ‘just for fun’, and volunteering for a couple of local charities to get some skills on their resumes. Social awareness and entrepreneurial skills are big-ticket items.

THE OPPORTUNITY

I see an opportunity to invest in our young people to transform our economy and create a better future.

I want to be a serious challenger in the field of teen education.

I want to build a curriculum, similar to the Founder Institute, which targets teens aged 17-21. I need to test the idea that the program runs in the 3-months between school and university. I want it to be widely-seen as the foundation training program for emerging leaders, entrepreneurs and thought-leaders before they step into the world.

I want to bring together the world’s best educators, thinkers, creatives and problem-solvers to design a new way of educating teens. I want it to be cutting-edge and exciting. I want it to look and feel good. I want the course content to be punchy, relevant, and meaningful. I want students to gain real-world experience that they can put right on their resumes, and I want them working on projects where they have to find solutions to real-world problems like urban crowding, the ageing population, housing for refugees or attacking the gender-pay gap.

I want the program to challenge, “who are you? What are your passions? What is your place in the world, and how will you get there?”. Once challenged, I want the program to provide a framework that builds the students’ resilience, tenacity, goal-orientation and grit. This program won’t just be about knowledge (as facts and data), but also about self knowledge.

I want to see them work on projects that work across traditional fields of science, or maths or art. I want them to be coached to take an idea and draw from all disciplines to build the idea, test it, market it, present it and deliver it in a real Boardroom or studio. They might be designing a logo one day, developing a marketing strategy the next, and pitching to a client the day after.

I want the students to emerge with a toolkit for professional competency, for personal courage, and with excited, engaged minds.

I want them to be thought-leaders with an understanding of global economies, religions and topical issues.

I want them to understand their potential, then UNLEASH it on the world.

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