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Australian Centre for Rural Entrepreneurship (ACRE)

  • Project: Scaling ‘Social Enterprise Schools’ across Victoria
  • Amount: $200,000 over two years
  • Year(s) Funded: 2018

Developing 21st century enterprise and employability skills in young people

In a rapidly declining traditional job marketplace, young people, particularly those in rural and regional Victoria, need to develop new employability skills. Often referred to as ‘Enterprise Skills’, they include leadership, critical and creative thinking, collaboration and problem solving. The Social Enterprise Schools program aims to teach students these capabilities.

“The Social Enterprise Schools program provides students with a unique opportunity to learn by doing. It ignites hidden talents and generates a huge sense of achievement in students over the school year.” Participating teacher.

In 2015, HMSTrust funded the highly successful, independently evaluated pilot of the Social Enterprise Schools (SES) program into 13 schools in Victoria’s north east. This current project will strengthen and grow the program’s delivery into regional Victorian schools, implementing the key findings of the evaluation to provide strong and more targeted teacher resources and linkages to the Victorian Curriculum capabilities, stronger teacher networks and an evaluation framework that can be scaled. The aim is to reach 300 schools and 18,000 students by 2020.


  • ACRE has partnered with the Social Enterprise Academy in Scotland to bring its suite of internationally-recognised entrepreneurial learning and development programs to Australia. The programs have been critical to the regeneration of Scottish rural communities and are now being delivered across the globe, with ACRE one of nine international hubs.
  • The SES program is proven to engage disengaged, disengaging and non-academic learners, and is seen to provide learning opportunities that are inclusive and suitable for any age and ability.
  • The program is offered to schools on a fee for service basis. Scaling the program will result in ongoing sustainability.
  • It provides ACRE with a practical approach to supporting young people in rural and regional Victoria to contribute to their communities, whilst they learn valuable enterprise skills.
  • Seven schools are participating in the SES Teacher Toolkit and Curriculum Co-design Team. The Co-design Team will be assisting with the development of teacher resources for the program that align with the Victorian and Australian Curriculum Foundation–10.
  • The pilot program was designed to evaluate how learning via a social enterprise develops a range of skills in students. The independent evaluation also provided an opportunity to look at how the program builds confidence, increases self-esteem and enriches a sense of social justice in young people.
  • The pilot’s success led to the program being identified as a key priority by the Ovens Murray Regional Partnership. The Partnership comprises cross sector leaders from government, education, community and business across seven Local Government Authorities.