Nick has done his share of study over the years. Starting out with plants, he is now well and truly a people specialist. “I was always interested in ecology and botany – how systems worked together,” says Nick. “Years down the track, systems for people to work together is what I am interested in most.”
Nick was a teacher for some years, first in Melbourne and then in inner London, with older children who had emotional and behavioural difficulties. The innovative programs he experienced, showed Nick the lifetime benefits into young adulthood for these children, of additional and longer lasting support. Making pathways and supporting vulnerable learners from disadvantaged backgrounds to continue their education, would become a theme Nick would develop more and more strongly over the coming years. Not letting vulnerable kids fall through the cracks was crucial.
Returning to Australia, Nick applied the positive philosophies he had experienced in London to his new work at St Kilda Youth Service, where he became Education Manager. Moving to Melbourne City Mission, innovative and inclusive programs run by Nick included young mums classrooms, where mothers could learn while bringing their children with them into the classroom.
In 2017 with 20+ years experience and significant qualifications in the education sector, Nick travelled to the USA for further study in ways of supporting young, disadvantaged people to transition from high school to further education.
Being able to apply this growing knowledge base hit a roadblock when Nick was made redundant. This can be a serious time, when people often make the big decisions that have been travelling along in the background for quite a while. For Nick, it was the time to start a consulting business. “I had been considering this for quite a while. I had heard about the NEIS program and decided that this was a great way to learn new skills and to have the financial support to take the risk of starting a new business,” says Nick.
Starting his NEIS training program with Box Hill Institute of TAFE, Nick developed his ideas for Johns Education Consulting. The new business would specialise in supporting government and community educational organisations to create positive connections with young people. Nick guides organisations using his practical experience and management skills in relevant programs and approaches. Organisations such as The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre; Local Learning and Employment Networks; and the Department of Education and Training, are all assisted by Nick to create solutions that support vulnerable students with barriers to learning.
Educational needs is a complex world of bureaucracies and criteria, that requires good, persuasive communication. Specialists offering a service, need to gain traction and win support. “I learnt a lot about marketing that really helped me to clarify my business direction. Until I did NEIS I was a little unclear about exactly who my different markets were,” says Nick. “It was also great to spend time with other people starting a wide range of new businesses. This helped me to think outside my own field of expertise and instead learn what the core elements were to starting any successful business.”
Johns Education Consulting is being called on more and more in Melbourne, to support organisations that engage young people and their staff.
What do you need to learn to get your own new business idea up and running? NEIS is an Australian Government sponsored new business training program, to assist with self-employment. Use the postcode finder for your local provider and contact them for a chat.