BUDDING entrepreneurs have combined to take on the challenge of transforming regional issues into ideas for social change.
Students were invited to Mount Gambier High School last week to participate in the brain-changing Young Change Agents program.
Starting on Tuesday, the three-day workshop involved youths aged 10-18 and encouraged them to identify ways they can change and improve the community they live in through problem-solving and team-thinking.
Entrepreneurial specialist school assistant principal Josh Praolini said Mount Gambier High School’s aim was to promote innovative learning across the Limestone Coast.
“Mount Gambier High School is now one of only five entrepreneurial schools in the state so it is important we are providing opportunity for entrepreneurial learning,” Mr Praolini said.
“We have invited Year 7 to Year 10 students from Grant High School and Allendale East Area School to work on problems they have identified and are passionate about.
“Because it is student-led and there is not necessarily any direction with what they should or should not do, it has been really interesting to see what they have came up with.”
Mr Praolini said once ideas were brainstormed, students were able to pitch their ideas to guest judges including Hello Friday director Ben Hood, Flinders Rural Health South Australia innovation and entrepreneurial facilitator Callena Rawlings and Limestone Coast education director Adam Box.
Mr Hood said it was fantastic to see Limestone Coast students developing ideas, which could create global change from a regional base like Mount Gambier.
“It is important for kids to understand that being from a regional community is not a barrier,” Mr Hood.
“It is great they are thinking regionally and I think all the ideas we have seen could be expanded nationally.
“I actually did say I would steal one of their ideas jokingly, but they are thinking about real-world applications and any of these could be fleshed out to be something to have real benefit to the community and people their age.”
Mr Praolini said some student examples included an app which businesses with teenagers wanting to get their foot in the door for employment, local tourism boost opportunities and health industry promotion.
“There was a group of girls who were worried about automation having an impact on jobs in the future,” he said.
“There project was based around promoting robotics, particularly for young female residents.
“Another group was discussion a way for student voice to help in the way school uniforms were designed through an app which allowed them to pick their own materials, lengths and other components.”
With a range of premises remaining vacant along Commercial Street, Mr Praolini said a group of students came up with the idea of connecting empty shops with business owners.
“It was an app was almost like Tinder for business owners,” he said.
“Another idea was promoting jobs in health through virtual reality and encouraging young people to enter the industry.”
Mr Praolini said the program gave students an opportunity to have a say and a voice in the region’s future.
“I know that kids are great thinkers and will come up with some amazing ideas if given the opportunity,” he said.
“My job is to promote entrepreneurial learning in the region and I will be pushing for more of these opportunities where they can change their thinking and take ownership of the problem.
“I do not want complaining anymore, we are now focused on finding solutions and are looking for ways we can solve problems and add value to our area and learning.”
Mr Praolini said another social entrepreneurial-based workshop Academy of Enterprising Girls would be held at the school from March 10 to 12 for female students in the region.