The first crop of students from Melbourne’s Global Village School graduated from the school’s Young Entrepreneurs Pilot Program at the end of last year, at an event attended by students, family members, funders and supporters.
Founder and Director Eric Woodward (Cohort 2014) said the Global
Village School model is designed
for all students.
“It is an approach that ensures
barriers faced by some students are overcome, providing
an avenue for students to flourish in a well-grounded, supported and respectful
community of learners,” Eric said.
The Young Entrepreneurs Pilot Program combined enterprise learning
and trauma-informed pedagogy for students from a range of schools across
Melbourne, who attended the program for a day a week over 10 weeks in Term Four.
“Our hypothesis was that if we get 16 kids from a bunch of
different schools and we present to them real-world challenges that social
enterprises are facing and they get to choose to tackle one of these
challenges, then they’ll rise to the occasion and they’ll find enthusiasm and
passion for a particular cause,” Eric said.
Social enterprises the RSPCA, HoMie, Minus18 and AIME were involved in the pilot. The organisations pitched to the students at the start of the program, with students working in groups to create content in support of an organisational aim. Outcomes included two groups of students creating product lines for HoMie, which is a streetwear label supporting young people affected by homelessness and hardship, while AIME is going to utilise the student-created content in a wider campaign exploring the Imagination Declaration.
At the graduation event students presented their projects
and talked about the work that went into the creation of their concepts before assembling
for a formal graduation ceremony where students Rubee and Emily acknowledged Country
and Siem and Sam spoke about the program’s impact on them.
“I came out of every day having done something that was
worthwhile,” Siem said.
Program support staff, participating schools and funding
partners were recognised before students received their certificates of
participation and repeated a pledge they made earlier in the program.
“A few weeks into the program I challenged the students to
come up with a reason for why they were attending the program. I explained to
them what it means to be an entrepreneur through the metaphor of a succulent,”
Eric said at graduation.
“A succulent is hardy, it survives in harsh conditions, and
it will literally absorb everything it can from its environment. I asked the
students to decide in that moment what they were going to suck out of this
experience. What were they going to make the program mean to them? How were they
going to make this program the best they had ever done?”
Eric said that the key to unlocking the potential of the
young people in the pilot was to support their ambition and ability.
“I so firmly believe that if you put young people in the
right environment, where the expectations are high and you match that with the
right support – the roots, so to speak – then they will all thrive. I have seen
these brilliant, talented young people thrive in this program and I am extremely
proud of what they have achieved. But I’m even more proud of the people they
are: how they treat one another, their self-awareness, their passion for the
issues they believe in and their ability to show empathy and service into how
they respond to these issues,” he said.
If you’d like to hear more about the program from a student’s perspective check out the Teachers Education Review podcast and if you want to connect with GVS, who are currently looking for some new committee members, contact them at www.globalvillageschool.org.au