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Life101 Launchpad: Online course teaching practical skills to youth
Wed, 27th Dec 2023

Life skills are fundamental yet sometimes overlooked in formal education; a new online program, Life101 Launchpad, has been founded to address this gap. Tailored specifically for young people aged 16 to 23, this interactive course aims to teach rangatahi fundamental life skills, focusing on the 'how' and the 'why.'

Life101 has delivered life skills programs to approximately 12,000 individuals in schools, prisons, and probation centres across Aotearoa. Nick Caroll, Founder of Life101, explained: "The ambition was always more significant, especially for our rangatahi, to reach all young people with a life and financial skills education that's more like a game than another day in the classroom."

The Launchpad curriculum emphasises financial literacy and covers many essential life skills. These include understanding personality types, improving communication, CV preparation, job interview readiness, and introducing the basics of investing.

With its interactive activities and engaging scenarios, Launchpad equips its participants with a practical understanding of topics as varied as debt management, budgeting, saving money, and the consequences of financial decisions.

Nick states: "We believe our rangatahi deserve better. Launchpad is our way of making essential knowledge affordable, accessible to as many youths as possible and most importantly, fun, so that they actually want to engage with."

One of the distinguishing aspects of Launchpad is its engagement-driven teaching approach. Borrowing from the excitement of 'choose-your-own-adventure' stories, it includes interactive scenarios that provide a real-world context for the theory students are learning.

Nick adds: "We teach the theory, the how-to do it in the real world, and the motivation to want to use the skills, which means our learners end up with a tangible outcome and everything they need to succeed in the real world."

Ensuring accessibility and convenience was central to the design of Launchpad. Recognising the busy schedules of today's youth, the platform was constructed to fit seamlessly into their daily lives. It can be accessed during school breaks, work recess, or even a commute. For secondary schools, the course can be incorporated into class time and monitored by teachers using Launchpad's admin dashboard. Alternatively, it can be done by students or parents on their own time.

Beginners can join the course in just two minutes from a starting price of NZD $65, with modules involving a series of short texts, videos, quizzes, and real-life scenarios. The course structure includes nine workshops, each estimated to take about an hour to complete, with daily prompts designed to guide learners through the course.

Beyond its educational aspect, Life101 Launchpad also envisions breaking financial barriers to education. Discussing possible avenues to realise this, Nick concludes: "We are exploring avenues such as corporate sponsorships. My hope is that through Launchpad, we can equip young individuals with the skills and confidence they need to navigate the complexities of adulthood, ensuring a brighter future for generations to come."