Youth Ambassadors Take on Innovation Gap

By Netania Lim

As the next generation of leaders, youth are already passionate about capitalising on innovation.

A team of six East Gippsland Youth Ambassadors is advocating for mandatory entrepreneurship classes in secondary schools as part of YMCA Youth Parliament this week. They want to build confidence in young people by giving them the skills they will need to run their own business.

Speaking for the team, Brodee Turner said: “This is something we all think about but never actually follow up.”

Their opinion is pertinent given Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s recent announcement of a $1.1 billion innovation plan, which seeks to modernise Australia and boost its economy.

The bill seeks to “embrace entrepreneurship as a driver of economic growth”.

There’s a lot of empty spaces in the community,” Mr Turner said. “A lot of people don’t actually know how businesses do run, and how the community runs.”

The Youth Ambassadors want to ensure students have the skills necessary to find employment, particularly for those who leave secondary school early.

The bill will form a government body where trained professionals go out to schools. It outlines a range of skills the Youth Ambassadors want to promote, including public speaking, first aid, safe food handling and tax return skills.

Compliance with the bill would also result in government subsidies for schools.

But their bill is not without controversy. Sparsh Ahuja is a co-founder of Feel.Think.Flow co-founder Sparsh Auja said he believes forcing students to take entrepreneurship classes could defeat the purpose of allowing young people to be creative and innovative.

Feel Think Flow is a student organisation that aims to encourage youth participation and engagement in global issues.

You want people to do it not because they have to, but because they’re passionate and motivated to do it.

It’s about creativity, coming up with their own ideas, thinking outside the box,” he said.

I think people who might have that kind of skill within them could dismiss it just because it’s compulsory, and that could discourage them in the long-run, kind of like how they’ve made English mandatory now.”

YMCA Youth Parliament gives 120 young people an opportunity to have their voices heard at a state level every year.

The bill passed 38 to 15, and will be passed on to State Parliament.

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