October 11, 2016

A Future for Young Australia

Investing in Our Community

Aaron Young

29th February 2016

The Shapers Series is a sequence of informal fireside chats with leading change makers. We were fortunate to have Jan Owen, CEO of the Foundation for Young Australians to discuss the value of young people investing in their community. The event was hosted in the Victoria Park MiniLab, a collaboration space for change makers, run by the Enkel collective. It’s worth noting that the Shapers Series format doesn’t seek to answer all of the questions it throws up with definite answers. It is a forum for discussion between peers.

The global Shapers Community is a global platform for young leaders and change makers to connect and work alongside like minded people. This discussion about the value of young people investing in the community shared many synergies with the reason the ‘Global Shapers community’ exist. Jan’s experience and knowledge in this area is an invaluable resource for many of the young people seeking to impact their communities in a positive manner.

The evening began with Jan sharing stories from her careers as a youth worker and advocate for young people in Australia. Her entrepreneurial spirit was evident as she shared her story, both success and failures. I was particularly moved by a story she told from her childhood where her father who founded Lifeline talked a person off a roof and away from a potential suicide, an experience that seems to have had an profound impact on her life.

The key takeaways that I took from the discussion were;

  • The need for our education system to be fluid so that it maintains its relevance in our fast moving global economy.
  • Supporting entrepreneurial spirit of young people is a powerful tool that can be used to develop problem solving skills and develop adaptability for today’s job market. As a young person growing up in our society the ability to learn from others and ask key questions can be more valuable than knowing the answers.
  • Collaboration is important for people seeking to create change in the community. It is important to work with other organisation/people rather than duplicate services.

Thanks you to Jan and her team at the Foundation for Young Australians and the team who organised this event. I am looking forward to the future Shapes Series events through the year.