New Nordic Youth: An educational journey – for life
By Camilla Pedersen | Photos: New Nordic Youth
Entrepreneurship is for everyone. This premise has shaped the framework around New Nordic Youth, a Danish continuation school with focus on design and entrepreneurship. The purpose? To give the students the tools they need to shape their future work life.
Located in North Zealand, 60 kilometres from Copenhagen and with the refreshing sea and the calming forest nearby, the surroundings of New Nordic Youth are just as inspiring as its curriculum. Traditional subjects such as maths, Danish and English are of course part of the curriculum, but what really characterises the school is what is defined as four areas of competence: media design, business, tech and creative. “Skillsets in these four areas will play a crucial role in the future, which is why we want to offer the students a framework to explore, create and collaborate – as an investment not only in their own future, but also in society,” explains Jane Holstein, co-founder and principal.
Creativity, collaboration and community
At the start of each school year, the students get a few weeks to explore the four areas of competence before they decide which one they want to specialise in. “They then get to dive deep into the various topics that fall under the respective areas, and later they collaborate on projects across competency areas, while also learning project management tools that help them structure it all. It’s the start of a beautiful educational journey – a journey that shapes the students in so many ways,” says Holstein, “not just because of the realisation that collaboration and community are key, as we can’t handle the challenges of the world alone, but also because we’re all naturally attracted to people we can identify with, people we have something in common with. Great things happen when we shake things up and get to create and collaborate with people who are seemingly very different to us. This is a valuable life lesson – one of the many lessons that, in just one year here at New Nordic Youth, help form whole human beings.”
Try, fail, try again, fail a bit more
New Nordic Youth opened the doors to its first group of students in 2017. And while a school year includes study trips abroad, sports, elective subjects and many other activities that are typically part of life at Danish continuation schools, the students at New Nordic Youth spend a good chunk of their time on topics related to entrepreneurship, a concept that is often misunderstood. “Entrepreneurship is often associated with business start-ups. Social and cultural entrepreneurship tends to be overlooked, but we look at the concept in its entirety. Anyone can work with entrepreneurship. It’s not about how many brilliant ideas you get; it all starts with the mindset, and that’s why an entrepreneurial mindset is ingrained in everything we do and believe in here at New Nordic Youth,” Holstein says.
“We want to motivate and encourage our students to explore and create in order to create value to themselves and society,” says Dennis Perschke, co-founder. “This calls for an environment where they can experiment, try, fail, explore, fail a bit more. It’s never a linear process, which is also why we find it important to collaborate with a wide range of people from various businesses, educational institutions and associations – people who are willing to share their stories about successes, pitfalls, challenges, and most importantly: the importance of entrepreneurship.”
Many of these collaborations give the students the opportunity to get their hands dirty. “We have done a yearly case collaboration with IBM since we started out – it is always a big success,” says Holstein. “The students are divided into teams with representatives from each competency area and get to work on a real case presented by IBM, with the opportunity to pitch the result of their work six weeks later. It’s incredible to follow the students on their journeys. And just like them, the school is constantly developing and evolving to stay unique and relevant. As we like to say to the students, it’s not the destination, it’s the journey – and the itinerary is always changing.”
About New Nordic Youth New Nordic Youth was founded by Jane Holstein and Dennis Perschke in 2017. The school welcomes 110 to 120 tenth-grade secondary-school students each year. There are no admission requirements, but a great deal of will-power goes a long way. Students choose one of the four areas of competence to focus on, each within a framework of project management and case work: - Media design: photo and video editing, graphic design (Adobe), WordPress, SEO, copywriting, graphics. - Business: concept development, funding and investors, business models, marketing. - Tech: programming (various languages), app development, tech business, innovation, web development and virtual reality. - Go creative: photography, PhotoShop, drawing and painting techniques, graphic printing techniques, collage. www.newnordicyouth.dk Facebook: NNYefterskole Instagram: @newnordicyouth
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