YAA in the business of leadership

04/03/2009 - 22:00


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YOUTH Achievement Australia has spent the past three decades developing programs aimed at empowering the nation's youth to become business leaders.

YOUTH Achievement Australia has spent the past three decades developing programs aimed at empowering the nation's youth to become business leaders.

"Our core objective is to prepare young people to meet the social and economic challenges of the next decade by providing challenging and inspiring educational programs that promote lifelong learning and foster qualities of leadership, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit," YAA state manager Joey King told WA Business News.

"Our policy is equitable access for all and our programs are free of charge to all young Australians from all walks of life."

YAA's Business Skills Program is open to anyone over the age of 15 enrolled at an education facility, but is not limited to students studying business or considering a career in business.

The program provides an environment for students to apply their skills and knowledge, develop their teamwork, communication and leadership skills and see how their technical skills contribute to job effectiveness.

Typically, students have a limit of 1,000 $2 shares and a maximum of 25 shares per shareholder with which to create a business. Shareholders receive a dividend when the company undergoes mandatory liquidation at the end of the course.

As with any business, the students have to pay manufacturers to produce product, pay wages to their staff, and register to insure their business.

The program operates Australia-wide in metropolitan, regional and rural locations. In the Western Australia, it is endorsed by the Curriculum Council, which gives students five points towards their certificate of education.

The business program has helped nurture rising business stars such as Simon Creek, who was a finalist in last year's WA Business News 40under40 Awards.

"The Business Skills Program is a structured educational program that promotes innovation, entrepreneurial spirit and the use of IT and reinforces career education and builds employability skills," Ms King said.

"It is important to build partnerships with business, government, education and the community to provide all Australians, particularly our young Australians, the opportunity to access vital business education programs regardless of location, circumstances, curricula choice, career paths or academic strengths."

Matthew Broderick says the YAA business program changed his life.

"Six months ago, if someone had asked me what my future held I would have said I was going to end up inside a laboratory with test tubes and beakers," Mr Broderick said.

"After completing the Young Achievement Australia program, my answer changed.

"Studying forensic science at university, I'd always assumed I'd end up working in a chemistry lab. But then along came YAA.

"Through this program I started up a business with a group of nine students at university and began a new pathway in my studies.

"I took on the role of managing director and led my team through many business experiences including planning, budgeting, innovation, marketing and production.

"Selling real products, having real shareholders and spending real money gave us an experience of what running a business is about.

"With high sales we were able to return a strong dividend to our shareholders, which was extremely pleasing."

For Helena Ngo, the business skills program enabled her student company to deliver a 250 per cent return to shareholders in just seven months.

Her achievements in the program led Ms Ngo to become a YAA business skills program mentor and paved the way for her new position in the consumer healthcare division of GlaxoSmithKline.

Student Georgia Bruton was discovered by a London marketing firm while working as a marketing manager for her YAA student company, Wide Blue Yander.

Through the program, Ms Bruton gained valuable business experience, confidence and motivation.


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