SCHOOLS throughout Bendigo opened their doors to new leaders on Thursday.
Big Hill Primary School and Crusoe College were among those that invited business and industry leaders to take on the role of principal for the day.
An interest in the next generation of workers inspired both marketer Carolyn Stanford and human resources manager Michelle Forrester to volunteer for the experience.
Ms Stanford is part of the steering committee of the Passions and Pathways program, an initiative that helps introduce grade six students to the world of work.
She was keen to learn what it was like inside a school, and what the role of the principal involved.
“It’s a lot more complex than I thought,” Ms Stanford said.
Having expected the principal would be a little bit removed from the day-to-day running of the school, she was impressed by how involved principal Matt Pearce was in supporting staff and students in their roles.
“People have their leadership style,” Mr Pearce said.
“It depends too on the day.”
Thursday was a particularly busy day at Crusoe College, as staff and guest speakers helped students learn more about wellbeing.
Mrs Forrester helped prepare Year 10 students for upcoming work experience.
“Just viewing it as a job opportunity,” she said.
She had been interested, stepping into the role, to learn more about how young people develop highly sought-after qualities such as resilience.
“If we can instill these behaviours in people when they’re young, it will put them in good stead when they come into a workplace,” Mrs Forrester said.
Both the principals and their stand-ins agreed the experience was useful for schools and industry alike.
“It’s good for the kids to see people coming into the school and taking an interest in what happens,” Crusoe College principal Brad Madden said.
Mr Pearce said strengthening the bonds between industry and schools could help young people appreciate the opportunities available to them and how their education could help them achieve their goals.
Likewise, Ms Stanford said it would make people better informed about sectors of the community they might not encounter frequently.
Principal for a Day has a 16-year history in Victoria and is an initiative of the Australian Council for Educational Research, in partnership with the Victorian Department of Education and Training and Bastow Institute of Educational Leadership.