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Dec 09, 2016

Jarrod Aberhart's National Awards 2016 Speech

The Sir James Fletcher Award for Contribution to Enterprise celebrates the dedication and commitment by those who have the biggest influence on the next generation of entrepreneurs - our teachers. Jarrod Aberhart from Nelson College was the 2016 recipient. His acceptance speech was highly commended by the audience at this years National Awards so we thought it was well worth sharing.

Kāti, kei konei te reo   

Kei ngā maunga

Kei ngā moana

Kei ngā awa

Kei ngā mana e tau mai nei

Tēnā koutou katoa

I want to share with you the reason I am here tonight. The reason we are all here tonight.

You see, there are leaders and there are those who lead. Leaders hold a position of power or authority, but those who lead inspire us. Great leaders attract people who believe what they believe and those people don’t show up for the leaders but rather they show up for themselves. It's what they believe that motivates them and that drives them to action. We follow those who lead, not because we have to, but because we want to. We follow those who lead, not for them, but for ourselves.

The Young Enterprise Trust is one of those leaders.

Every job today is being pulled up, out or down faster than ever. It either requires more skill, can be done by more people around the world or is becoming obsolete or automated faster than ever. It is the exponential growth and disruption from technology which is driving this change and the need for 21st century skills and programmes like YES.

Take the transport and shipping industries for example. Google’s self-driving car has now travelled 3.2 million miles, Tesla’s 2 million, and although it still has a driver for safety you can even get a self-driving Uber in Pittsburgh, Mercedes are in on it too producing the first fully automated truck. By March next year Christchurch Airport will also have their first automated shuttles.

What does this mean for the transport industry?

What about shipping? Well NASA have already successfully emailed a ratchet into space which was then 3D printed and used for maintenance on the International Space Station.

46% or 885,000 New Zealand jobs could be lost in the next 20 years. This doesn’t mean that new jobs won’t be created. But it does mean that teens will need a whole new set of skills.

And yet we have been teaching the same way for over 100 years. We teach and test things most students have no interest in and will never need, and facts that they can Google and forget as soon as the test is over. 91% of New Zealanders are connected and yet we still send them into exams with no access to information. The time for examinations is over.

Knowledge is available on every Internet-connected device, what you know matters far less than what you can do with what you know. The capacity to innovate, to solve problems creatively or bring new possibilities to life and skills like critical thinking, communication and collaboration are far more important than academic knowledge.

People once held one job per lifetime, but today’s teens may hold as many as twenty jobs. We must all be prepared to constantly learn new skills and ideas. In a world of exponential change, standing still is not an option. Building the confidence to do so is the number one goal in the future of education.

Through the process of running a YES business students not only gain confidence, but discipline, motivation, problem solving, critical thinking, and creativity skills also. And through collaboration and team work gain communication, empathy and leadership skills all of which are vital for the future. The reason why YES is so important, is not the trophies, the awards or the money, but the skills gained through the YES journey. It is the development of these skills which makes it so powerful, and the reason why I choose to follow the Young Enterprise Trust. A true leader in business and education.

Thank you.