Despite the shifting nature of the working world, the role of career advisers hasn’t changed much in recent years. Yes, they have needed to become more digitally savvy to point students towards job seeking websites and online resources, but compared to the changes in some of the industries they are helping students aspire to? Not so much.
However, the rise of entrepreneurship may just be the exception. As of 2015, 32 per cent of working Australians were freelancing in some capacity, which is hardly a surprise when you consider the movement towards a gig economy.
Start-ups have become so common that they have their own stereotypes in the form of ping-pong tables and phrases like ‘disrupt the market’. Social media platforms have made it far easier to market ideas, sites like Squarespace and Wix allow amateurs to build impressive websites for blogging, design and e-commerce, and the likes of Udemy offer courses for less than $20 to upskill in specific areas. The podcast How I Built This shares the stories of successful entrepreneurs, putting a human face on the people responsible for Airbnb, Instagram, LinkedIn, Kickstarter and WeWork.
Universities have begun to adapt to the demand with the addition of entrepreneurship classes to existing degrees, often within the business faculty. Some institutions are taking it a step further and developing entire courses based on becoming an entrepreneur, such is the enthusiasm of Millennials to skip the grad job experience and be their own boss from the outset.
So, what does this mean for career advisers when a Year 11 student says they want to be an entrepreneur? It’s not as simple as the answer for the best way to go about becoming a teacher, an electrician or a surgeon. The reality is, there is no sure-fire solution to becoming an entrepreneur. Required skills may vary depending on the industry but some are universal. A strong work ethic, resilience, adaptability, being able to withstand pressure and above all else, a great idea, are essential elements for an entrepreneur to succeed.
There is no secret formula, no specific personality type. The best a career adviser can do to support a budding entrepreneur is give it to them straight: studying entrepreneurship will not automatically result in a niche in the market. However, if they can come up with a good idea, are willing to work hard and prepared to source funding for their project, anything is possible.