Maker Culture in schools essential for jobs of the future

Lachlan Blackhall is a young Canberra entrepreneur and co-founder of Reposit Power, a company developing software to store, shift and trade electricity using grid-connected, residential energy storage.

They are a growing company with around a dozen employees. Companies like Reposit Power are exactly what the ACT desperately needs to reduce dependence on the public service and build a diversified and vibrant private sector. However, Lachlan will be the first to admit that finding the right people can be a challenge.

Anna Pino from innovation consultancy, Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre, agrees with Lachlan.

"Innovative companies such as Reposit Power that create jobs and build new industries will increasingly need staff capable of producing new ideas to solve different kinds of problems," says Anna.

"At Lighthouse we mentor many young entrepreneurs each year and we are finding we need to invest a lot of time building their skills when it comes to critical thinking and problem solving.

"Future jobs will need innovators who know how to observe, question, experiment and collaborate and we need to teach these skills much earlier, at school level rather than university or later," she adds.

According to Anna one school of thought is that entrepreneurship and innovation can be fostered by a 'maker culture'. This is an extension of DIY culture, but can include new technologies like 3-D printing, robotics and electronics as well as more traditional activities such as metalwork and woodwork.

The concept of a 'maker culture' is increasingly gaining the attention of educators as a way of engaging students in STEM subjects - Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. One school that has embraced the concept of a 'maker culture' is Orana Steiner School in Weston Creek. Orana is a preschool to Year 12 independent school with over 650 students.

According to Principal Dee Whitby, while Orana has always had a focus on integrating thinking and doing, they are currently investing in purpose-built facilities that allow students to apply their content knowledge in new says.

"We believe it's important to teach our students to innovate and rethink the world around them," says Dee.

"Our new design technology facilities will mean that we can teach students in such a way that they get to experience what its like to draw from multiple disciplines to solve problems.

"They will be able to experiment with a variety of traditional and new technologies and completely immerse themselves in exploration, giving them the confidence to take risks and think outside the box," adds Dee.

Lachlan confirms that the ability to 'rethink' or change the status quo is at the heart of what innovation means to him.

He believes that companies such as Reposit Power will be increasingly focused on recruiting passionate people who are prepared to challenge convention and who can work collectively to change the world.


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We are capability builders; providers of support and assistance; and skilled providers of a range of management services. At Lighthouse we work with people who have ideas.  

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