Teens kick-start their futures with business mentors

Year 10 students in Victoria have received sponsorship from Australia Post to learn a broad range of business skills for their futures, with business mentors and workplace immersion programs. Students of Maffra Secondary College and Elisabeth Murdoch College are stepping out of the classroom and into the workplace through a 3-year Business Class program facilitated by Schools Connect Australia.

Over six months, Year 10 students will be paired with Australia Post graduates to develop the students? professional capabilities and encourage their career aspirations. The program will introduce students to various professional roles within Australia Post, from the marketing team to tech developers. It will provide invaluable real-world experience of working in a corporate environment.

Head of Partnerships at Australia Post, Chris Newton, said they chose to involve second-year university graduates working at Australia Post for the program. He explained, “They?re only a few years older than the students we?ll be working with, which makes it easier for students to relate to them and stepping into a professional work environment far less intimidating. This is also a great opportunity for our graduates to develop their leadership skills.”

The program aims to build the students? organisation, time management, creative thinking, and interpersonal skills. It also focusses on practical aspects of job-seeking from writing resumes to performing in mock interviews. Mr Newton said the program aims to build students? confidence and communication, “two important elements to their professional development”.

Schools Connect Australia CEO Annemarie Rolls praised Australia Post for their commitment to regional and rural communities such as Maffra in Gippsland. She said the workplace immersion project was particularly innovative because it had been developed through in-depth consultation with the graduates and students. She believes it will benefit the graduates? professional competencies as much as the students? job-seeking skills.

How parents can help teens learn the ways of business

Teens can learn the practical side of the workplace and business before they even get there, in a few simple ways.

  1. Teens should earn an allowance for performing household chores correctly and on time, so that it is earned and isn?t just “play money”. This instils a good work ethic outside of the classroom.
  2. Help your teen set up their very first savings account. Now they can begin to do things like budget for themselves.
  3. Help them apply for a Tax File Number. This means they can apply for their first job whenever they feel ready.
  4. If they have a large goal to save towards, encourage them to search for a part-time job they can do for a few hours each weekend. This can be daunting for teens, so walk through it side-by-side with them. Help them write a resume and cover letter, and drive them to and from interviews so you can debrief it in the car afterwards.
  5. If a job is not an option, encourage your teen towards other entrepreneurial things they can start doing on their own. Things like dog-walking, selling eggs from their own chooks, or hand-making gift cards to sell, can all bring in a small profit if done right.
  6. Volunteering is a priceless – literally! – way for your teens to build life experience in the workplace. Your local church or PCYC is always in need of diligent volunteers who can spare a few hours to help out. This teaches valuable teamwork skills.
  7. If your teen sees a learning conference that appeals to them, send them along if you can. This teaches them about networking with people who are passionate about the same things they are.
  8. Be available. If you work, you are your teen?s first ?workplace mentor?.
  9. Don?t force your teens to choose one profession too early on, but focus on building general personal and professional skills. Gen Ys often have multiple different roles over the course of their careers, and those general skills for the workplace can be the most useful tool for being adaptable.

An invaluable tool for students and parents

The Australian government?s Job Guide has precious information for students about different occupations and learning pathways and apprenticeships to get there, job searching, and support while studying or working.

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