Youth unemployment is stubbornly high and even with a good set of qualifications getting that job us a skill of its own and is rarely taught.
With that in mind Monash Commerce student and Gen-Z educator, Nathaniel Diong, a 2021 Young Australian of the Year nominee, created the Future Minds Network, helping 11,000 youths avoid poverty through employment education.
Three years ago, aged 16, Diong started Future Minds Network to assist young Australians build the essential interpersonal, communication and practical skills needed to enter the job market and create new career pathways.
Nathaniel and his team of 20 volunteers have since worked across three continents to provide employment education.
Future Minds Network runs hundreds of engaging programs for high schools and universities each year. Students are taught how to build start-ups and impact-driven business, over the span of two days all the way to two months.
Through this program, students are empowered to solve big problems and practice human skills like communication and problem solving.
Students from more than 50 cultural groups across the world have completed his programs and many have built their own companies, won speaking engagements at TEDx, and launched not-for-profits across Australia.
“We’re living in a global youth unemployment crisis and in the next 10 years, 2.8 million young Australians will need to be significantly reskilled,” Nathaniel said.
“Youth unemployment is more than just not having a job. It has drastic impacts on people’s mental health, relationships with other people, as well as social costs, such as homelessness.
“Originally, Future Minds Network stemmed from a place of helplessness. When I was 10, I used to count how many people died every second, minute and hour, and spent many hours crying. I wanted to change it but I didn’t know how.”
During COVID-19, Nathaniel ran $90,000 worth of subsidised programs to support educators through remote learning and inspire youth. This included virtual summits for ‘teenpreneurs’ in the UK, global hackathons and career-readiness workshops across Australia. He also recently linked 10,000 disadvantaged women in tech with employment at a virtual careers’ fair.
For his efforts, Nathaniel was selected as one of four nominees for the Victorian Young Australian of the Year 2021. He was also a Finalist for Youth Champion at the Melbourne Awards, which was announced on Saturday 21 November.
While studying and being the CEO of Future Minds Network, Nathaniel is also an international start-up mentor; sits on eight boards of not-for-profits; and represents the UN Centre for Trade and Development (Youth Action Hub) as Vice-Coordinator for Australia.
In 2021, Nathaniel is looking to scale back his efforts internationally to target those most vulnerable to long-term social, economic and employment hardship locally.
For more visit https://www.futuremindsnetwork.org/