One to Watch: Bryce Taylor
28 November 2017 at 8:10 am
Bryce Taylor is a 22-year-old coach from the Sunshine Coast and the founder of the Remote Coaches Pathways program. He is One to Watch.
A total of 60 of Australia’s brightest young changemakers have been selected by the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) to take part in the 2017 Young Social Pioneers (YSP) program. It is Australia’s first, and only, national youth entrepreneurship incubator designed exclusively for young people leading initiatives that respond to society’s most pressing challenges. In this mini-series Pro Bono News speaks to a pioneer from each of the nine categories across the program about the differences they are hoping to make.
Taylor started out as a strength and conditioning coach working in a gym.
But after volunteering in a remote SA community in 2015, he made the choice to pursue the path of fitness and coaching to use his love of sport and training to give back to communities.
His business, TTC Australia, “a multifaceted social enterprise”, aims to introduce the Remote Coaches Pathways program (formerly the Remote Area Sports Performance program) into remote communities.
The business hopes to address the gaps in sustainability and autonomy in remote communities by coaching young athletes in their sports, and at the same time assisting them to gain qualifications and experience to facilitate their own programs in their communities.
Taylor has now been selected for the Young Social Pioneers program as part of the Indigenous Focus stream, which is supported by Citi.
Here he talks to Pro Bono News about giving autonomy back to Indigenous communities, why you don’t have to start a business or go to university to help your community, and why his aim is for Indigenous communities to be the boss of him.
What is your project?
It is called the Remote Coaches Pathways program. So what we do with that is we go out into remote communities. What happens at the moment is there are a lot of programs that go out there and they run programs for about six weeks or so and it works great, and the kids get into it, but the reality of being in a remote community is that they leave. So what we aim to do is go in there as accredited coaches to then sign on other coaches. So we run, sort of like a trainee course for community members to become coaches themselves, and then what happens from there is we cultivate a program, with the schools, with the aged care, where everyone is involved and the people who we trained to be coaches through that process end up running the program, so that way when we leave the benefits don’t go with us, which is what is happening at the moment.
Where did the idea come from?
So I was working in a remote community as a volunteer in 2015, and as part of that we did a few different projects, me having a background in sports and recreation, I was running the sports programs. So I sort of saw how that worked, and how well it worked but one of the things that happened was we had one young fella and he was having trouble in school and stuff, so we came up with this thing where we said: “Okay you’ve got to come to school, you’ve got to do your homework and little things like that, otherwise you’re not going to be able to partake in the program”. He got the message pretty quick after he missed out on the first one and the next day he was reading heaps and just getting into it and it really worked very well. So I was thinking okay this is something that works and then the reality hit home when the 10 weeks was up and we had to leave, I thought well what’s going to be that incentive now?
Who are you hoping to help with this?
So it is going to be for Indigenous kids in remote communities, that’s going to be the main thing. I’ve got a couple of figures. As of 2015, 31 per cent of 15 to 24-year-old Indigenous people in remote communities are unemployed, so that’s my target demographic, 15 to 24 years. Because those are going to be my coaches. Whether they’re male or female it doesn’t matter. In addition to that, only 18 per cent of Indigenous kids complete year 12 in remote areas, so there is a massive gap there, as far as the kids who aren’t going to school and are also not working, so those are the ones I want to get involved with this and then it is sort of filling in gaps across the board because it is contributing to employment, it is contributing to health for the broader community and also they are not reliant on outside influence, they can do it themselves.
What difference does it make to the community having options that don’t require them to leave and move away?
So, the biggest thing with that is there is a massive stigma at the moment. It is coming from a good place, but people come in with these ideas and say to the kids: “If you study and work hard you can go to uni or you can do this or you can do that”, but they all involve leaving. The other thing is a lot of the kids go out and work on the stations, but again they are away from their families and things like that. So there are massively limited options there, as opposed to us who live in developed areas. So the idea is you can create an industry where they are close to home and close to family, as Aboriginal people are really big on family. A lot of people, I sound hypocritical because I just quoted stats, but they look at it from a stats on paper perspective, but the reality is you have got to look at well being, which is what we’re about too, the kids are happier when they are closer to their families.
I grew up with a lot of the mob from Cherbourg and they come down to Caloundra but then they go back home. I’m coming in like “why are we telling these kids that if they want to be something basically they have to leave, you can be something in your own community”, and then that is going to have a positive ripple effect, because these kids, like the younger ones who are used to seeing their older siblings finishing school or not going to school and either way doing nothing, it’s like “hey they have a uniform and they’re telling everyone what to do and they didn’t even have to leave”. It is just providing options, is a big thing.
Do you think it make a difference that you are Indigenous and therefore perhaps have a deeper understanding of the cultural nuances?
When you’re talking about remote communities or any Aboriginal communities, rapport is the biggest thing, they have to trust you and I think it doesn’t matter where you are, Aboriginal people all have the same sort of connection in just the way you go about things, like how you go on. I think being able to just come in and develop that sort of relationship is different to coming in and saying “hey we’re going to save you guys”, because they are like “we don’t need saving”.
What are you hoping to get out of the YSP program?
Honestly, just experience and connections. Because a lot of the people I’m working with are really quite amazing people in what they’re doing and I think for me it is kind of like wow, they have gone to uni and done all these amazing things, working in tech and things like that, and I’m sort of coming from a place where I’m not academic, I’m not a scholar or anything, but not in a negative, jealousy sort of way, but it’s more like “hey, I have no background like this and yet I’m still mixing it with these guys”.
So the biggest thing for me with Aboriginals and the way we progress our communities and things like that, there seems to be a lot of “oh someone else will do it”, whereas one message I would really like to get across is that it doesn’t matter if you are a carpenter, or a painter, or anything like that, any skill you have, Aboriginal communities just want shared knowledge. So if you are a painter, you can go to a school and you can teach kids how to paint, that is something, that is going forward. I would really love for every Aboriginal person in this country, not to think I’ve got to start a business or go to uni or do this, that and the other to help my people, but just think what’s something that I’m good at, or just something that I’m interested in, that I can share with kids or other community members.
How do you find leading an organisation at a relatively young age?
I think leadership is important but I look at it as in my whole philosophy and what I’m trying to do, is that everyone is in it together sort of thing. So I don’t like to think of myself as a leader as such, or a role model or anything like that, I think of it more that I’m just trying to set something up where we can all come together, and say these are our issues how do we fix it. And that’s what I’ve got at the moment. I’m working with another YSP member, Charles Rolls and also Mark Peters, who’s my cousin, and they come from different backgrounds. So Charles has got a background in mental health, and Mark has got a background in culture practice like dance and traditional games and things like that, so three completely different things so for all intents and purposes we could go off and run our own business but we come together to say well these are the skills that we bring to the table, let’s work together and we’ll just try and develop some of these kids confidence more than anything. And they can take it from there.
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
In five years time, I would like to see myself, I guess with an established rapport with a multitude of communities. So I would like to be in a position where I’ve got one community ringing me up and saying “hey, everything’s going good, but we need some more balls”. So then everyday for me in five years ideally would be just figuring out things to do that I can give to these communities, that have established programs, so little things. So I’m not running it, they’re telling me what to do. In a nutshell, in five years time I would like for them to be the boss of me.