Central Coast firm blazes trail with social media SBATs

ELM Professional Services, a Central Coast-based consulting firm is breaking new ground in the SBAT space, offering traineeships in digital and social media to two students from Kariong Mountains High School.

Image: Central Coast firm blazes trail with social media SBATs

Like most Year 10 students, Braith Mansfield and Tamhana Rudolph are no strangers to the digital and online space. But what sets them apart is their passion for the industry.

While still in Year 9, the two Kariong Mountains High School students collaborated to start up an after-school podcast about their hobbies and interests. Thanks to support from their school and parents, and the networking skills of their SBAT Engagement Officer, Cecile Oakes, the boys felt compelled to nurture their skills by securing a work experience placement at ELM Professional Services, a Gosford- and Sydney-based business consulting firm.

In the space of their 2-week placement, Braith and Tamhana were tasked with creating a number of Instagram reels to establish a client’s social media identity. This involved researching the look, feel and tone of their business, storyboarding content, creating and editing videos, and presenting the final social media campaigns - a lot of work for a 2-week stint!

Tamhana and Braith excelled in completing the brief and wowed not only the staff at ELM, but their very happy clients. When the boys expressed interest in extending their time with ELM, it was something that the employer didn’t have to think twice about. After picking up an abundance of industry-specific skills and knowledge during their work experience, the boys were offered the opportunity to extend their 2-week work experience into a 2-year long school-based traineeship.

Tamhana and Braith’s mentor at ELM Professional Services, Mia Van Tubbergh, is very enthusiastic about the future potential of the students.

“After a slight adjustment period at the start, we realised that Braith and Tamhana were underestimating how much they were truly capable of,” says Mia.

“As a result, we pushed them to achieve more and they were able to deliver. Not only was the work that they produced fantastic, but their maturity increased, and they were able to grasp a better understanding of the corporate world, and how the business of social media works.”

Cecile Oakes, SBAT Engagement Officer for the Central Coast South group of schools, under the Educational Pathways Program (EPP), brims with pride as she recounts the achievements of the boys.

“They’re amazing — they blew everyone away with what they can do!”.

She also credits the hard work and dedication of Matt Hipwell and Lynn Hawker, the Transitions Adviser and Careers Adviser, respectively, at Kariong Mountains High School, for everything they do to further the careers outcomes of their students.

Over the course of their SBAT, Braith and Tamhana can expect to gain a plethora of industry skills, from social media content creation to the foundations of data analytics. But beyond that, they will gain invaluable knowledge about the world of work.

“We aim to expose the boys to some of the multitudes of the corporate world, so that they can develop their workplace skills and hopefully get a better understanding of what they want to achieve in their careers,” says Mia.

“The work that they are doing will provide the boys with a foundation of social media and digital marketing skills, which will in turn help them create a portfolio with evidence of their capabilities. A world of opportunities opens up to them - maybe one day they will want to open up their own creative agency! They will definitely have lots of options.”

Taking on SBATs was a new experience for ELM Professional Services, but it has been welcome and positive, says Mia. “They are full of energy and passion, and it’s nothing short of infectious. The support provided by Cecile has also been fantastic, both for the students and for the business’ adjustment.”

While Tamhana and Braith may be the first SBATs to focus on social media, Mia believes they definitely shouldn’t be the last.

“Young people are already heavily engaged with the digital world, and it’s an area that some of us oldies are less versed in, so we thought, ‘why not’? We are very proud to be the first employer to offer an SBAT like that to students on the Central Coast, and hopefully it’s the first of more to come.”

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