UOW's Enactus Wollongong lead way in upskilling youth

Enactus members Rohan Munir, Tim Randall, Mai Anh Nguyen and James Watt. Picture: GREG ELLIS

Enactus members Rohan Munir, Tim Randall, Mai Anh Nguyen and James Watt. Picture: GREG ELLIS

Helping the community: Enactus members Rohan Munir, Tim Randall, Mai Anh Nguyen and James Watt on the main campus at the University of Wollongong.Picture: GREG ELLIS

Helping the community: Enactus members Rohan Munir, Tim Randall, Mai Anh Nguyen and James Watt on the main campus at the University of Wollongong.Picture: GREG ELLIS

Helping the community: Enactus members Rohan Munir, Tim Randall, Mai Anh Nguyen and James Watt on the main campus at the University of Wollongong.Picture: GREG ELLIS

Helping the community: Enactus members Rohan Munir, Tim Randall, Mai Anh Nguyen and James Watt on the main campus at the University of Wollongong.Picture: GREG ELLIS

A group of future leaders at the University of Wollongong have been making their mark on the community under the name Enactus.

Enactus Wollongong is a student-run organisation that starts and runs community initiatives.

Tim Randall has been a member of the Wollongong chapter of the global network for four years. He said it used to be called SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) but was rebranded in 2012.

He said the university's first team appeared around a decade ago, but its mission for each of its projects remained the same.

"We design a business model that helps the community socially, economically or environmentally - we usually try to do all three at once," he said.

Fellow member James Watt said the projects were diverse and included a Wollongong Youth DJ program that started mid-2013.

"The main goal is to take disadvantaged unemployed youth and give them skills in business and learn how to use DJ equipment," he said.

"From that they can go on and become self-employed and earn a living."

Equipment is funded by the business faculty. But last year's winner was given the equipment rent-free while he raised enough money to buy his own.

Another community project, WRAP (Work Ready and Prepare), aims to provide disadvantaged groups with the skills and knowledge to gain employment.

This is achieved through dynamic workshops where participants are paired with an Enactus mentor who helps them learn to write a resume, be interviewed and improve their understanding about the most effective ways of seeking out available jobs.

Over the next month, WRAP will be hosting workshops every Tuesday from 3.30pm and Wednesdays from 4pm.

"We recently held a workshop for Iranian women," Rohan Munir said.

Enactus Wollongong is also involved in a lemonade stand competition this month.

It recently tested the simple business model it is based on at TIGS (The Illawarra Grammar School).

The Enactus competition will allow school teams to come onto the main campus and compete against each other.

In the process the students learn about running a business.

Enactus Wollongong plans to expand the program into youth centres, and with other lines such as recycled products.

The university students also want to start a community garden project but need to find suitable land they can use.

Enactus Wollongong has a website with more details at enactus uow.org and a Facebook page.

In July the Wollongong projects will be presented to judges at the national conference in Brisbane, competing against 22 other Enactus teams from around Australia.

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