An innovative program matching Kiama High students with local businesses has been designed to be a win:win for participants.
Through the NextGEN Digital Business program, a joint initiative of Kiama Council and the Kiama Community College, businesses can establish or improve their online profile to generate more exposure for their business, whilst supporting local students studying Commerce, IT and Business Studies to develop employability skills and experience.
It is a revised version of a program offered a few years ago, this time under the direction of local business coach Glen Hayworth
His success in taking his family business, Hayworth Guitars, online led him to open Resolve Consulting as a way of guiding others through the ecommerce maze.
“I’ve turned Hayworths from a retail business to an ecommerce business.
“Through Resolve, I coach businesses one-on-one, and a lot of the work is around building awareness through marketing, particularly social media.”
He says that many businesses, especially when they are starting out, don’t have the time or skills needed to build their social media presence.
“This program is going to help the dozen businesses involved by setting up a good foundation in terms of their social media, email marketing and website content.
“It is also going to help the students learn these skills in the real world and make them more employable.”
Mr Hayworth will do sessions with both the businesses and the students separately before matching them up based on needs and interests.
Ben Lavis, a Year 11 Software Development & Design student is very keen to be involved.
“I’d like to get some experience to help me prepare for bigger roles in the future,” he says.
He’d like to study mechatronics (robotics) at university, and maybe start his own business at some point.
Given many businesses are targeting a younger demographic than their owners, Ben thinks feedback from the students will be very useful.
“They need to know what we are going to look at and what it takes to make us buy.”
Mr Hayworth is keen to teach students from his old school.
“They are going to pick this up really quick because they are probably already on the platforms and are familiar with how they work.
“Digital marketing is a role that is beginning to come needed by a lot of businesses.
“The whole idea of this project is to help students by partnering them up with potential employers and giving them practical experience.
“You get a lot of theory based knowledge at school, but it is nothing compared to what you learn when you are involved in a business.”
The cost to the businesses for the 10 week program is just $35 per week, thanks to a grant from the State Government’s Stronger Country Communities Fund.
Businesses wanting to find out more should email to firstname.lastname@example.org, attn: Megan Hutchison