Every single one of you has greatness inside you…..
Mina Guli, Marathon Runner, Environmentalist and CEO of Thirst4water
Mina Guli’s presentation to our Senior Sports Assembly recently was arguably the best I have witnessed at a school in more than 30 years. Her ability to overcome serious injury, recreate herself to become fitter and healthier, and then setting about looking for ways to solve a global problem (water shortage) by her deeds and actions have deservedly placed her in the top 50 most influential leaders in the world. Mina’s story was a true example of GRIT and determination, resilience and endeavour. Not only did Mina inspire us all with her amazing feats, running the equivalent of 40 marathons in 7 weeks across 7 continents, but she spoke of the greatness in us all, her desire to make a difference and the ability to believe in and be true to ourselves. Her message resonated with us all. The spontaneous standing ovation said it all.
I spoke to our assembly this week and reminded our students of the many inspiring messages contained in Mina’s speech. I also referred to recent research regarding the skills that employers are increasingly seeking for graduates. When so much emphasis is placed on content driven curriculum (no school is different there!), ATAR scores and NAPLAN results, many of the skills highlighted in more than 4.2 million Australian job advertisements (over 6000 sources from 2012-2015) diverge away from academic results per se and focus more on select enterprise skills, namely digital literacy, critical thinking, creativity, problem solving, presentation skills, teamwork, building of effective relationships, communication skills, financial literacy and social conscience. Employers are increasingly seeking evidence from applicants that a sound proportion of these are achieved or can be demonstrated. As a society, the very nature of occupations is dramatically changing. Over the past 25 years, there is a growth of 87% in community services (high touch) and professionals (high skill), and a marked decrease in technical vocations (19%), administration (35%) and labouring (37%). Of more interest is that 40% of jobs are estimated to be highly affected by automation in the next 10-15 years and trends show that people born post the year 2000 (most of our current students) will experience 5 career changes and 17 job changes in their (long) lifetime, expected to be on average (yes on average) close to 100 years!
I challenged our students to consider not just what they wish to be when they grow up and leave school and university but importantly what difference they will make. I asked them to consider that, while their academic effort and results will always be important, they should also consider how they participate in sport, music, drama, public speaking and service to community, where the skills, mindsets and poise they will need to be successful are learned, developed and nurtured. I expressed my pride in them for the way so many relate to one another, serve their communities, compete and perform, but I have hopefully challenged those who do not participate as they might. AISHK provides a multitude of opportunities for student to avail themselves to, and the list is growing. To not participate is a lost opportunity, and a responsibility shared by each child, their parents and as a school. We owe it to this next exciting and talented generation to prepare them for an exponentially changing and dynamic new world, and to give them every opportunity to connect, thrive and flourish throughout their schooling and beyond and into their working and family lives.
Committee for Economic Development of Australia
Foundation for Young Australians
Bruce Simons | Head of School