illuminate:nextgen JNR Challenge

The illuminate:nextgen JNR Challenge is an exciting program that introduces primary school students to the skills key to being leaders of the future, what it takes to think like an entrepreneur and the capacity to succeed in education into the future. Facilitated by skilled staff from illuminate Education with the support of the local business community, students learn about solving a relevant problem in the world, how to develop and refine an idea, look at how to make it financially viable and present it in a persuasive way – all skills students will need to succeed into the future.

Developed by Adam Mostogl of illuminate Education (Top 30 Under 30 Entrepreneurs 2017, Tasmanian Young Australian of the Year 2015) with support from great primary school educators across Australia, the program introduces key concepts and language around running your own small business, the skills that Australia’s youth needs to be an active and engaged citizen in their own community as well as being aligned to the Australian Curriculum at each year level it is offered across multiple subject areas. And with our experienced facilitators coming into your community to deliver the program authentically and support your students, it’s an impactful experience that will leave a legacy for years to come for all involved.

Regarded by school leaders as one of the most exciting and authentic programs they’ve seen and something students talk about for months to come because of how much they got out of the experience, this is something you can’t miss!

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In a nutshell, it’s an intensive week long program, where students work in teams to develop solutions to problems with business ideas and test it through generating marketing materials, business plans, financial models, presentations, creative thinking exercises and much more – with all of the skills introduced in the week. However in alignment with the core values of illuminate Education, we recognise that these skills are not just essential to starting your own business, but learning how business operates in an authentic and engaging manner allows students to understand how business works for when they want to get a job, or how to get a great community project off the ground through the skills they learn in the week.

The challenge is designed in a way that allows students to explore business concepts by connecting their existing knowledge and building their vocabulary, with skilled facilitators leading the week and community members who support the process. Students learn about business documents alongside concepts such as strategic thinking, problem solving and team work as for most students, this is their first interaction with the world of business and entrepreneurship, but through connecting it authentically to different subject areas as well as the world around them, students will see it is how the world around them works. With programs hosting anywhere between 40 and 400 students, the mixture of abilities in the room from different schools and/or backgrounds make this a rich experience that students will remember for years to come, and one the community and parents value as well.

The illuminate:nextgen Challenge is designed for Year 5 & 6 students in the first instance, as they are aware enough to recognise the impact they can have on the world around themselves and are supported to do so. They are also preparing for high school, where they will need the skills to be creative and entrepreneurial to showcase their knowledge and skills, and the environment is designed to mimic this next step in their learning. However each program is designed to meet the needs of the school and the community, with some programs including students from Year 4 or inviting other schools from around the region to participate. We know that the experience does need to be educationally relevant too, which is why we have aligned the illuminate:nextgen Challenge across the Australian Curriculum at Years 4, 5 and 6 levels to the General Capabilities as well as English and Mathematics.

As already outlined, the program is delivered in person – not through a digital platform. We value the opportunity to engage with students, join them at their tables as they are working and present in the room – which means for the week the program is running, our experienced facilitators will take control of the learning environment, guiding students through the tight deadlines, required submissions and team management issues to get to the other end of the week feeling proud of what they have achieved. The program is fully planned and resources are prepared upon arriving in the school to reduce all headaches – with a number of registered teachers across the illuminate Education team, we know what programs like this can mean for teachers and our efforts are focused on reducing as many requirements as possible to ensure that everyone enjoys the journey that is the illuminate:nextgen Challenge.

In Your School?

illuminate Education typically delivers the illuminate:nextgen JNR Challenge into interested and engaged primary schools, who see how the challenge can provide skills the students need for their future and to support the learning environment. Just in touch to explore this option further with us to discuss how we can support your school and strategic plans for the future.

Learn More

We’ve included a frequently asked questions section online to help you learn more about the illuminate:nextgen Challenge so you can see the impact the program can have on your students as well as the operational details as well – and below is a map of our upcoming programs across Australia.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the frequently asked questions about the illuminate:nextgen Challenge that will give you more information about what we do and how the program works. Please note the answers are generic in nature as we are not talking about particular programs, but can be provided upon request by contacting us directly.

Because the style of learning is based around diagnosing existing knowledge and then teaching from this base, all students in the year levels involved should participate. If students have specific learning needs, please discuss this in advance with illuminate Education as our team of educators have amendments we can put in place to support every student to be engaged in the program.

The program will be entirely dependent on the capacity of the available venues in the area, however we’d like to have as many students as possible participate. Our team are capable of running programs with up to 200 students in the one program, but only if the venue allows for us to safely host this many students.

We recommend to enter as teams of seven or eight. These sizes have been set on our previous experience in running this programs that maximise student engagement in tasks without excessively overloading students.

We keep the exact wording of the theme secret from the students until the opening presentation of the challenge, to add to the excitement and pressure of the experience. This ensures that all students have the opportunity to approach the challenge with an open mind, but the theme will be relevant to the economy and region. In the past, we’ve given students themes such as social entrepreneurship, sustainability, tourism development, manufacturing and exporting internationally, and much more.

However as we run this in schools, we will discuss this with your leadership team to ensure that the program explores a subject area that is of importance to the school to ensure that students have an opportunity to further explore this content.

No. The illuminate:nextgen Challenge is developed so that all students can learn the basics of business and entrepreneurship through the presentations and content delivered in the four/five day period.

During the challenge, the entire program is run by facilitators from illuminate Education. We also invite speakers from the community as well as representatives from our partners to present content as well as judge the student work. Whilst teaching staff may assist students on the first day, their role will be primarily to supervise. Teaching staff will also have the opportunity to attend lecture sessions.

At the conclusion of the program, an awards ceremony will be hosted to celebrate students’ achievements across the challenge. Awards will be presented to teams and schools, based on criteria as set out at the beginning of the week.

illuminate Education recognises that schools have their own duty of care requirements and recommend these should be followed, whether the program is occuring on the school campus or off-site. illuminate Education will have at least one facilitator attending the program at all times, with all facilitators holding current Working with Children Checks.

Awards will be presented for tasks submitted throughout the challenge as well as overall awards at an award ceremony on the last day of the challenge. The judging panel will be made up of representatives from the community as well as supporters of illuminate Education, with all work assessed against eight criteria:

  1. Creative thinking and innovation
  2. Strategy and planning
  3. Financial interpretation
  4. Presentation standards
  5. Branding and target audience
  6. Message and language
  7. Time management
  8. Use of Information Communication Technologies

All teams will be provided with a folder containing resources that will be useful for the week. Additionally, students can bring the following optional items:

  • Laptops or tablets. Care of these items will be the responsibility of the student.
  • Pens and paper. These can be used to take notes and support the learning environment.
  • As the challenge progresses, students may decide to bring additional resources or equipment from home/ school, specifically for their trade display stall promoting their business.

illuminate Education also recommends students to use their mobile phones to complete tasks and undertake research across the week, but this will be discussed with the schools to confirm student use.

Students are required to wear their school uniform from Monday to Thursday. On Friday (presentation day), students are recommended to wear neat attire relevant to their business idea, or can continue to wear their school uniform, but this will be discussed with the school as the program draws closer.

All sessions and tasks throughout the challenge are aligned with the Australian Curriculum. The challenge meets content descriptors the General Capabilities as well as English and Mathematics. These are available upon request from illuminate Education directly.

Our focus is to make the process as easy as possible, and we will discuss the program closely with the relevant staff to ensure it is a success. However here is a quick list to help start the advance preparations;

  • We’d like to have as many of your students participate in the program as possible, and this is why we are asking schools to let us know what week would suit them best.
  • In terms of a venue, we require a large open space which we can use for students to hear presentations (with AV setup) with tables and chairs for students to complete group work. We can be flexible to work with the existing bookings in the school, or have students complete tasks across multiple rooms after hearing the presentations.
  • We would like to ask students from nearby schools to participate, but this will be dependent on there still being available space after your students have registered for the program (which will be given preference) and if the school is happy for this to occur.

Outside of these questions, illuminate Education will coordinate the program, provide resources and speakers for the program to be a success.

With all of our staff either working in schools or qualified teachers, we recognise that sometimes students can choose not to engage in the content and have a number of adjustments we can make to the program. Facilitators may make amendments to the program to support students engagement, they could present scaffolded templates for students to help them complete the task required of them, or else will engage with the school about the student/s in question to ensure the best outcome can occur. We would like to see every student completes the program and gains some benefit, but recognise this cannot always be the case.

We know that schools have requirements around students participating in program such as this, and this will need to be taken into account. However illuminate Education does request permission for the following;

  • Permission to collect student details (such as names, date of birth) to track the students in the program and growth over the week.
  • Permission to take photos during the week and use these for our own purposes, including promoting the program.

Schools will be provided with the relevant permission forms for parents to sign and return to illuminate Education to complete the program, and questions can be directed through the school to illuminate Education.

There are so many definitions and assumptions around who and what an entrepreneur is! At illuminate Education, we recognise that is about skills that the individual has rather than an occupation, and with that in mind believe the following are three integral skills to be an entrepreneur;

  • Self-motivated as they get their drive from within themselves rather than requiring external motivation. In this, we mean that individuals can step out and develop new ideas on their own rather than having someone else suggest and prompt them to do so, or that they can come up with their own pathway rather than needing someone else to be reminding them to do something.
  • Self-confident as they are willing to back themselves to make something happen. In this, we mean that individuals will be confident enough to step out from the crowd and do something different if it needs to be done rather than follow the rest of the crowd.
  • Resilient as they will have to handle being knocked back from time to time. In this, we mean that they can handle the hard situations (such as stress, tight deadlines, team breakdowns, etc.) and persevere towards the outcome in mind rather than giving up.

It is from this understanding that illuminate Education has designed the illuminate:nextgen Challenge and equips all students in these three areas across the program.

Contact illuminate

We’re always eager to hear from people who are interested in what we do – whether you are a school, a potential partner or someone who just wants to get on board with what we do. You can either get in touch with us directly below, or else use the form on this page and we’ll respond to you shortly;

Partners & Supporters

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