Subject selections, social media and mullets. Preparing our kids for life after school.

An interview with Sharna Dawson, Careers Advisor and Founder of EDGE Workshops.

Subject selections, social media and mullets. Preparing our kids for life after school.

An interview with Sharna Dawson, Careers Advisor and Founder of EDGE Workshops.

In this episode, Angela speaks with Sharna Dawson, Careers Advisor and Founder of EDGE Workshops. EDGE stands for Education, Deportment, Grooming,& Employability Skills. All of these are covered in Sharna's interactive workshops she conducts with school aged kids to help prepare them for the job-seeking process. In this episode Sharna shares the main challenges kids face with getting job ready, with the main challenges being self-belief and what they post on social media. This fun yet insightful interview is a must for teachers and parents who work with or have a child in high school transitioning to life outside of school.

Episode Transcription


Kids  vaping  parents  schools  workshops  mullet  social media  teacher  life  careers  advisor  boys  thought  create  employers  mallets  people  educate  friend  hear  speaking



Angela: Welcome to A Kid's Life podcast. I'm Angela Lockwood. And I am so excited today to be joined by you. Shawna Dawson, welcome to A Kid’s Life podcast.


Sharna: Thank you. I'm very excited to break up my lockdown day. So thank you for having me.


Angela: I'm glad I'm a welcome interruption into your life. But this is going to be a really awkward time because I'm about to introduce you while you're on here. And I always know when I speak at conferences. It's that real awkward moment where people are introducing you, but you're standing left of stage, and you're sort of standing there going, Okay, I feel really weird doing this. But I feel like you've got such a cool background. I want to share it. And I'm going to read a bit of a script here, , so sit still and bask in your glory. I like you're a former high school student teacher with three different degrees, which I love. me? What are those three different degrees?


Sharna: PD Health PE by trade? Japanese. Careers advisor? Note: Sharna speaks in Japanese.


Angela: Okay, did you just swear at me or did you just go thank you very much for having me on here?


Sharna: I introduced myself in Japanese. And while the Olympics have been on, it's been good. I've been practicing even more. It's good. 



Angela: Clearly, I'm very cultured. But yes, well, thank you for those three degrees. That's pretty impressive. And I would imagine working for 20 years working with students, you've seen your fair share of kids' issues. So you are well and truly welcomed on this podcast. And there's a whole lot of things that I have read about you and know about you. Obviously, your EDGE workshops, we're going to unpack a lot today. But as a careers advisor, the image I have and I'm hoping that you can dispel this image Sharna is, you know, like when you see American movies, where you've got the career advisor that sits in their office, and the wayward teen walks in and goes, please help me with, you know, my career, and they're very direct. And I don't think that's you, is that you was that you, if you changed what sort of image is a career advisor now, in modern day schools.


Sharna: I think it's more like, you know, kids are probably hanging out in my office to get out of class. That's probably the first and foremost, if you get on with kids, they use you as an escape tool to get out of math, which is fair enough, because I hate math. So I'm like, yeah, I'm hearing you. But it's, I think it's one of those things, too, where, you know, kids are constantly coming in all the time and just touching base. So you just know that, you know, that you're within their circle of space, but they do come in and they do go help and you're like, Alright, what have you got now, it's usually mass that they have, or English or something they want to get out of, but it's a very much sort of, it can be a really full on space, where kids are disclosing everything, because their life has just gone to absolute crap. Or it's something where they go, my mum sent me to come in here, or they literally just, you know, hanging out and eventually, you know, they're working up their confidence, or they're hanging out with a friend. And then they'll come in and chat and then they go, Oh, yeah, can I see you next? So it's just that, I was at a school of 1400 kids, so there were constantly kids in my office all the time.


Angela: Our attention is that you would be like the hairdresser of schools, where you know, everyone's issues, you know what's going on? And then they would come in, and they would just open up? Is that what it's like?


Sharna: Yeah, I feel like, it sounds really like weird because the kids you feel like they kind of your friends because well, that's a friend about as a careers advisor, you are a solo teacher, you don't hang out with other teachers, and you don't like you don't have staff rooms and everything like that. So kids are constantly in your space all the time. So when they're sharing their problems, you just feel like another added friend that they have, but you still have that professional line but you still have that rapport with them. Where they come in and yeah, you are a part of their lives, which is pretty cool. But yeah, maybe a call on to something, maybe you could be awesome back into line every now and then. But tell us like it is like without, you know, without you know, sugarcoating stuff. I saw that. Okay, this is what it is. Don't be a drama queen, get back to maths or you know, it's just that sort of, you do get to know everything that happens in their lives. And that's cool. That's cool.


Angela: And is that what led you to creating these EDGE workshops which I'd love for you to unpack a little bit about what it is and the work you do but is hearing the issues and the things that kids are facing? Is that what led you to creating it?


Sharna: 100% I think my myself coming from, you know, a single parent background, coming from a low socio economic area. I was you know, amongst all the kids that you know that people would consider the bottom, and I just thought, why do you have to be like that? Like, why does your story have to be what your parents are? And that was my theme throughout the whole, these friends are always around, and some of them broke the mold, but a lot of them didn't. And I just thought, why do we have to accept what, you know, what's been given to us, it's, we're just not at this, you know, we don't have to be at the bottom if we don't want to, we can make choices and education was our way out. And so, as a teacher, I went back into the school that I actually thought that I went to, and I wanted to do that, because, you know, kids would frustrate me when they'd be like, our only guide only from that school, or we can't do anything because we can't achieve anything. And I was like, What is your problem? Like, I would get so frustrated and go, the world is bigger than, you know, the guy that you just met, like, you don't have to marry this guy. There could be some hot guy in Sweden, gentlemen, or there could be a no there is particularly after watching recently, the Olympics and plenty of those boys used to Sweden cuz I just you just know, they're just hot, right? So I said to kids, what if there's some amazing career in America that's waiting for you, like getting bigger than the area that you come from? So that's why I created it. Because as a teacher, you sort of get frustrated with these kids, and you're like, a far out man, like to dream bigger, like, get excited about the things that you can create. And especially I say to him, you know, you can create businesses off your phone.

So I thought, now you know why, like, I used to do presentation stuff all the time for my kids at school. And I just thought, this has to be an easier way. Like, it has to be, like kids will come in and go, what am I going to wear to my job interview. Now my, here we go. And it was the same stuff. And they'd show me stuff with really short skirts, like baby tops, I'm like, Oh, my God, like my mom would kill me if I walked out with that. But you know, a job interview, they're going for child psychiatry, psychiatry, especially my area. But some of them like, you know, the parents are time poor, or they don't know any better, or we have a lot of generational unemployment in our area. So it's one of those things where you go, Okay, well, how are we going to do this without me being on repeat, and do it in a fun way. So I created the first one, just out of frustration going right, you're all coming to these, I created a local shopping center, because I knew they'd come. It was at a shopping center. Like if you want to host an event, do it at the shopping center where they can go near the food court, that's important. So I hired a room near the food court. And that's how I sold it. And I said, You're literally coming into this thing. I'm going to have people come and talk to you, get a cool makeup artist, a stylist, and then you get to go to, you know, recess in the food court. That was my selling point. So I had, I didn't have trouble feeling it because it was at the square at the shopping center. And I said, then you can go shopping after and then like, even at lunch, if you want to eat and then go look in the shop. That's okay. As long as you come back, no, like we were there. So I had, like, you know, I was knocking back kids to start with, to come into these workshops. And then I went in there and I thought this could really work. Like, this is something that I could take further. And kids love listening to a stylist, they love. You know, they love doing makeup hands on with someone. And they love dressing up and they listen to real employees. I thought, Oh my God, this has got legs. So all the time in the back of my head, I thought this could work. And then we sort of started building it. And then it's you know, you know, it's got into them, bit of the, you know, base that it is at the moment, which is really cool. But you know, I've been doing these for about seven years. And so they are a hands-on workshop because I know kids are bored and they don't want to listen to everyone. So we all have two second attention spans, so they work hands on with a makeup artist with a beautician. The boys do hygiene. Yeah. Oh, hallelujah. It's so good. And boys, boys love it. Boys are our best customers, they're the ones trying to get back in the workshop. They put face masks on.


Angela: Okay, times are changing, don't they really want to ask you if you've been doing this for many years has the content that you're delivering changed because of the impact of social media? You know, like, it seems like men and women are more aware of their appearance, than ever. Has the content needed to change to shift to that?


Sharna: Yeah. 100% and, but with social media, my sort of focus for those guys is around employment and understanding that your social media profile is being looked at by employers. So what I do that's not popular, but I don't care because kids need to hear stuff that they don't like, is that I pull up their social media profiles. So I get a list of kids who are coming to the workshop, we get approval for kids to say, hey, you can look at my social media profile. Kids go through this all the time. So they hear it's white noise. But when you take a photo of this that might be on their old Facebook account, that's like, you create a version of them. That looks so awkward. And you post it in front of like, 40 people, they freak. And I love it. And it's like, oh, my God, how did you get that? And I'm like, employees are looking at you.


Angela: How did you get that it's called the internet. It's called everything I think that's what kids do. I have children that are coming into, you know, their high school, and I'm trying to educate them that you know, that every single thing you comment on, every single thing you put on the internet stays on the internet. And I think a lot of platforms even like Snapchat, or, you know, Instagram stories, kids think that that disappears. But all you can find like, I could find a lot out about you prior to this, to this interview that, you know, is out there. And some of it like I know why, if I've Googled, if you ever Google yourself, it's quite funny. I have done it once or twice. I don't, it's not a habit of mine. But it is I'm like,


Sharna: I'd say that.


Angela: Where did they get that from? And say, how do you navigate that with the kids? And that going, it's not only what you put out there, but it's when you're at that party and, and your friend took a photo of you doing that hat? How do you educate them on that when it sort of comes to applying for jobs?


Sharna:. 100%. So I think what we do the whole general talk about, you know, it's your personal brand, and you've got to be in charge of it. Because, you know, if you're not creating a positive online, you know, depiction of yourself, then someone else can do it, you know, and I just and I said why would you leave that in control of someone where you have been drunk at a party, where you, you know, someone is passed out, or your mates passed out? And they're, you know, vomiting and you're like, take a picture, and you're leading over the top. And they go, yeah, yeah, yeah. And now here, and it's not until you put the photos of them at the party up, and they go, Oh, crap, like, you know, and every other word, and I had a girl that had six and a half thousand Tik Tok followers. And the school was like, can you please highlight this girl? Because, you know, she's already been suspended for it. And we're about to be expelled. So she was in my workshop. So I started talking about what employers do, we always talk about what employers want, and the employers come in and talk about social media to the kids. But I said to them, Do you want you know, do you want them to see you vaping in your school uniform on a train, and I made it very specific to this girl. And you could see the cogs going over in a friend's head and a friend's looking at her going, Oh, my god, she's talking about you. And they don't know. Yeah, and post up the pictures and the kids like, like, they just freak and it's sad. Like, the noise level goes through the roof, they get really aggressive. They are like, “that's my stuff”. I'm like, No, no, no, you posted on a public forum. So even though they hear the message all the time, they don't actually get it, they still think that only their friends are looking at it. And when they apply for stuff, like I've had an employer come in and say I create fake profiles. I will create fake profiles and get my staff to follow you to see what person you're really like on your private account. And kids are like, Whoa, like, they have no concept of how deep it can go. And I just think they hear it all the time. But until they see this stuff up online, and honestly, it's the quietest section, when the photos are coming up. It's the best. They're like, Oh, no, God, did you find me? And it takes me days to go through this stuff. And I find comments like, if you've liked a photo on a friend's page, that's their passed out. And then I'll go through and have a look. And then sometimes I'll link up their nickname to the like, it's full on and it does my head in because you, you're in a teenager's brain for four days and you're like, ah, sometimes, throughout the whole day, I'll go. There's a guy that told someone he's got a dragon tattoo on his chest. And there'll be a kid guy. Yeah, that's me. How do you know I said, I'll, we'll get to that later. And I'll just keep commenting, because we talk about tattoos. And we talk about employment. So I have these references the whole day. And okay, do you know how I knew that? And then we go bang in social media, I put his picture up, and he goes, and they die and teachers love it. But how not to do it? 


Angela: Do people engage with you to do this? So is it mainly through schools? Is it concerned parents? Because I'd imagine some kids, I don't know, do they voluntarily put their hand up and go I'd love to be a part of that, or is it more adult driven to say, I'd love you to support our students?


Sharna: Yeah, so S basically, it's careers advisors that sort of find us, that book us because me being a careers advisor sort of pushed out those networks, but we were part of a triple pay. So which is an educational pathways pilot program, always forget the so many pays in it. So where we've been selected, we're in the north coast and southwest Sydney schools. So we've been sort of picking up traction from all those schools and the communities amongst those schools, because they say like, for example, Tweed Heads have reached out to us their schools in Coffs Harbour, or the north coast that goes, Hey, can you come and do that? So we travel around this, like 24 schools that are part of this pilot? But yeah, we've got so many different things, and people find us and go, Hey, can you come and do workshops for us? As far as parents go, I haven't, I've got a course coming out for parents, just to educate them on the things that have changed, and to make it like a curious thing to help their kids as well. But as far as doing a physical parent workshop, I haven't done it. But I've done it for adults, I've done the same workshop for adults, like going into employment. And doing the social media thing for them is very touchy, very touchy, like, they don't like it purely because as parents, we share everything online. And there was a lady who shared too much. And I said, you know, there's a limit of what we share, we've got to be careful as parents, because we're sharing all this stuff with where our kids check in at dance, where our kids are, you know, that we create patterns online. And, sadly, there's people out there that can follow those patterns. And I've had friends in that position where their images of their child have been taken, they've been sold overseas. So we've just got to be really careful as parents, what we share as well online, which is scary.


Angela: It is so scary. as you know, I've written a book called Switch Off. So it's a very, very close to my heart topic around how we use not just social media, but how we're constantly on all the time and, and wanting to be connected and, and not being able to slow our thinking down. I do worry about kids now, because what I'm hearing in my work in schools, of course, is the anxiety that comes with the overwhelm of life, the kids just seem to be getting more complicated, you know, what job should I choose? What subjects should I choose? We had those, those worries ourselves, I can remember having those worries at school, but it just seems to be now more amplified. That, they're looking on social media, we've got the constant bombardment of, there's billionaires at 17. And what about, well, I'm not a billionaire, I'm just trying to, get into the local football team, it's just all seems very out of whack. And, and I know that for kids nowadays, they really need us to be positive role models. And I see that, of course, you are such a positive role model. For those adults who are listening to you, you just mentioned the parent cause which we will link to, after this. What can parents and adults do right now for kids knowing that overwhelm they're facing, you know, kids that are in high school, sort of age groups, even going into primary school? What are some of the really simple things we can do to support kids navigate all of this sort of complexity that they're facing right now?


Sharna: I think one of the most important things you can do to them is really listen, listening to your child about what they really like to do, is massive. And I think it's really underestimated. Most of the conversations I've had with parents coming to my office, when they're frustrated, they're upset, everything's gone to crap. Because there's no communication. They haven't sat down with their kid at some point and gone, Hey, what's going on? Let's talk about it. And I think as parents, we're guilty of that, because we get so busy with stuff. And our basket seems to be more important than theirs. But they have whatever's in their world that is really important to them. And little tiny things like what subjects are going to do to us, when we look back, we go well, I do it so differently. And you can do it so differently. There's so many cool things you can do now. But if we listen to them, and say, whatever you want to do, let's run with it, and see how that fits in with school. And sometimes school is not always the answer. And this is where I feel that as parents we feel that we have to obey certain rules. Like we're gonna look bad if we don't make our kid finish a 12 No, you're not, you know, all these things that we expect. From other people to say, and judge us, when really we need to sit down and go, alright, we've got some issues going on here. Let's sit down, and let's talk about it. And when you talk about things to a kid, it's not as overwhelming because you get to share their thought pattern. And they go, I yeah, it's not as big as I thought it was. Because in a kid's head, it'll snowball every single time. But you know, coming back to stuff around because it is close to subject selections. And in different schools, I have so many kids, I would say 85% of the kids that I go into workshops to put up their hand to say, they would not be able to freely choose what they wanted to do, they would be expected to do what their parents would want them to do. And that is horrible.


Angela: Oh, I just felt a tightness in my chest when you said that, because we're going through that right now. Subject selections, and straightaway in my head went, Oh, my gosh, have I done that? 


Angela: Because as a parent, you always second guess yourself? Don't you know, my eyes in my head supporting my children by pushing them into that avenue? Yeah, that's um, yeah, but we've got a clear moment.


Sharna: Yeah, and I, but I don't think you know, we're also got to be realistic and go, we've got lazy kids. So we're happy to pick whatever and don't really care. So there's a difference between a lazy kid and a kid that goes, I want to be an electrician, and that parent goes, no, you're not, you're going to you need to do more. Like that's a difference. I've had people who have had parents come in and change on paper, what their kid has selected, and then put that back in and gone. That's what they're doing. Okay. Happens all the time, and keeps those parents aren't sitting in that subject for two years. And there's so many things now that you go, what are they good at? What do they like to do? And let's run with that,


Angela: Then are you finding that, that overwhelm of all the subjects and jobs and everything that kids have in front of them at the moment, you find that kids are getting overwhelmed within all of that? Or do they sort of pretty much know where they're going? And that's the path that they'll go in? Are you finding it sort of a bit of both?


Sharna: Yeah, I think there's, there's, you know, different types of kids, there's some kids that try to consume all the information and do get overwhelmed by it. Because there's a lot of deep thinking kids, and they sort of tend to when they're overwhelmed by it, they'll step back and not choose anything. Like they won't take any path. And they'll wait for others to do it for them. Or there's the other kids that go, now, you know, will be right. And they literally don't, they'll listen to a mate, or they'll listen to maybe someone in their family that says you don't need that, don't worry about that. And they cut themselves off to all the opportunities. So a bit of balance is like knowing what's going on, is really cool. The opportunities you have. But I think the key thing is that kids have to do it when they want to. Not when parents want to. And this is the most frustrating part because I you know, I look at these kids as a parent as well and I go oh my god, dude, like, you do my head in. I don't even live with you. No wonder your mom wants to kill you.


Angela: I want to kill you. We’re just speaking metaphorically there. Of course not. But listeners that just reported or made a comment below. We were just joking.


Sharna: And the boys are the ones that are slow to choose, or just so you know, just going, it'll be right. It's like, well, hang on, you're really good at engineering. You're good at maths you're good at you know, you're inquiring why wouldn't you look at that? Now my mates aren't doing it. You know. So it's that type of thing where you go, you know, let's get it all about that. Let's keep it simple and go, what are you good at? And let's run with it. 

And did you ever think you would be in this position? Did you ever think as a kid that you would be doing this? No way. It's funny, the funny thing was that I sounded really like myself. But when I was teaching, because my love was health teaching. Like I wanted to affect us, we had so many bloody pregnant teens, you know. And I was like, there's so many different options, opportunities for you, and especially for girls. And so I would be this, you know, in my lessons, I'd be so into it. I just thought Why am I only talking to 30 kids? I just thought this needs to go, and this and teachers, you know, we're not all fantastic teachers that come in and do their job and leave and whatever. And so you just be like, their teachers just told them they don't have to do these health classes, but mine is sitting here doing what I want to teach them to. So I wouldn't have thought that I ended up, you know, at this, being able to travel and do everything. But yeah, it's just an absolute privilege to be in because the kids come in and they're engaged. Because you're different, and the teachers like I've told him this, okay, yeah, no, but I'm a different face. 


Angela: I know as a parent, you always can tell your kids a million times one thing, but they'll hear it from someone else. And it's like, oh, do you know what? You know? Mrs. Dawson said to me, it's like, yep. So I did your mum a million times.


Sharna: Yeah. My parents hate me for it. Like my parents. It's the same message just delivered. A little less filtered. 


Angela: I can remember my year 10 work experience. I was quite a driven young person. And I wanted to go and do work experience iand I went to a hospital and did it as a nurse. And I can remember, I just knew I wanted to go into healthcare or something around that time. And I was there in a hospital, speaking to this old lady, this elderly lady who was quite unwell. And my supervisor said to me, it would be really nice for you start to connect with the patient. So anyway, about 10 minutes later, the lady in the bed looked at me and started to make a funny sound in her throat. Oh, what's going on here? You know, I was a 16 year old. I was 16! It was the start of a cardiac arrest. I was there. No one else was,. And the lady ended up saying this is 100% True story. Um, she passed away while I was speaking to her now, please I’m not giggling because she passed away. It's a coping mechanism because I remember going there. Okay, I'm not quite sure this is the part I really want to be going into. And to make it worse. My supervisor made me help the mortician lay the body out. What and I remember tagging this woman's toe. A nice beautiful soul. I hope the final moments of her life with me were not a drag. I hope they were lovely and insightful. And we had a beautiful conversation, to then make it worse. My supervisor then wanted me to share with her family who had come in to find out in the hospital, and what our final conversation was. Now I'm no doubt these experiences in life shape where your life leads. But that was my work experience as a 15 slash 16 year old in year 10. So I am loving that there are people like you helping what's going well, maybe that's not the path I just remembered. I love nurses. They're amazing human beings. But that's not really how I wanted to share and spend my time. 


Sharna: I was so scared by that. I thought about why I had to teach. Well, you 10 I went and did it as a teacher in primary school. And the lady left me with the class, which was fine, because I've been teaching them for a whole week. But you don't do that as a 15 year old. I never knew that. But she went to her funeral. And I just kept teaching in like, I was like the casual teacher for the day. And I didn't and I was like, I thought that was bad. Tagging a toe and having away. That's a counseling level man like that.


Angela: I needed to go to some you know how to support young people on their employment journey. YoSheneeded to do a bit of that training, but it hasn't affected me. I don't think, except for you know, I've gone into a career of helping people. But one of the things I do is really there's two issues that I can't let you leave without us talking about it. One is vaping. Okay, on a serious note, I want to know about vaping. I'm receiving things from schools about vaping. And it feels like it's getting out of control. The second thing is mullets, and I want to end let's because I feel like that's a significant issue. But let's go to vaping first, I know that I'm seeing on social media kids vaping. And posting, you mentioned it a little bit earlier, posting photos of themselves vaping what Yeah, what's the guy with this? Like, what's hot?


Sharna: Look, it was only yesterday, I was having this conversation with my daughter who's in year six. And we, you know, I think as every parent, you got to look at every opportunity sometimes to educate them. So as a health teacher, I can't help it. So we were walking, you know, walking the dogs as you do, and she starts and we walk past you guys either to vape now, you know, for an 11 year old to look at the ground and go that's a vape and I'm like and we will talk about stuff. He's like vaping is just common. It's just, that's what everyone does. It's in their pencil cases. I've had kids that I've seen on their Snapchat accounts, they've you know, they've vape. And they'll take pictures and they airdrop it to everyone in the class. And the hard thing as a teacher, like, back in the old days, when kids would smoke, you'd stand there and you'd smell it straightaway. You know, you'd be like, I know you're smoking, I just stand there and just go you're a smoker are not interested, you recognize, you know, my playground God are actually sustaining the toilets and go, I know, you've got a smoke turn around. And I used to flush it, right? Yeah, pretty bad. But with vapes, the hard part is because and even as a parent, detecting them is so difficult, because you know, you can get ones that don't smell like anything, you get stuff that smells like strawberries, and kids saying it's lip gloss. It's, it's everywhere. And so this is the dangerous part. And I was trying to say to the kids, you know, these aren't even safe. And they're like, well, how are they in Australia? And I'm like, once they're imported. And once you know, they don't have to comply with our laws, because they haven't been tested. And once they are tested, it takes a long time for the American, you know, the FDA and everyone to test them. And once they do, they'll go, Oh, my God, we've got enough data, they're so bad, we'll pull them off the shelves. And I said, but all the stuff that's coming in is not regulated. The start you know, it's vapor that you're, it's moisture within your lungs. And my daughter's like she's in, you know, she's 11, she has all these kids is like you force and they have them in their pencil case. So I know there's kids out there that are selling them, and they're selling them on Snapchat. So and so, so they'll get them both from someone else. And then they're selling them, they're selling them. So they're charging, say 10 $15, and they go meet up somewhere at a park anywhere. And that's how kids are getting them. So Snapchat to me is just F is for my kids, they're not allowed to have it. I'm just a horrible person that way, only because I know that so many drug deals go through it. You know. So that's how a lot of kids find their drug dealers through Snapchat. And it's just easy. They're easy to access. They're easy to access kids. And literally all I could do is just go need a vape. I answer a reply on a picture, organize a meetup. And that's you know, we could meet at a, you know, at a playground and hand it over. And so these kids that are accessing very easily might pick them up for like $10.


Angela: And these are sort of topics and particularly your EDGE workshops that you're covering. Do you go through obviously social media, you go through your resume writing, and presenting them how to present yourself how to communicate? Is this sort of roundedness that you cover? Are those allowed? You know, I am? I guess the thing is now as I say kids are facing so many issues, how do you prioritize the ones that are important?


Sharna: Yeah, it's hard. Because you know, with our funding, we're sort of based around vocational education and, you know, exploring pathways and everything like that. So the health teacher in me can't help it. When different things come in, I add different topics. So social media is just number one for us. That's always up there creating that digital brand for yourself presenting yourself, you know, and, and part of that profile, that's where I get to bring in the health stuff and say, Look, you know, yeah, underage drinking, that's never going to be looked upon as fantastic by an employer ever. You're vaping. Not only is it illegal, you know, your ex, you're accessing stolen goods, you're accessing illegal goods, you're under age, you might be passing these on, we can see all this online. So that's how I get around it is through talking about their social media, because that's the really cool, like, it's like a window into their real lives. And kids are sadly sharing all these so any employers can see it. So that's where I sort of, I bring in as much as I can into those topics. And it's usually quite fair with the kids because they like that smile. If I'm allowed to vape I want to do it and I go, that's fine. But if you are going for a real estate agent that is particularly said, they have no smoking stuff, they're looking you up online. And for starters, you know, usually you shouldn't be smoking anyway. So we bring all that type of stuff into it through those workshops.


Angela: And I have to before we get onto mullets. And before we finish up, I do have to say your social media account is hilariously educated. If I could say that it's so educational, it's educated. Did I just say that education or it is hilarious. And I look at I go. That's how you use social media. You educate where people are at and I think that's what you do so well on your social media. Is that you're hitting the right market with the right message.


Sharna: Oh, thank you because I find it hard because it's, I have a weird market, I have parents that follow it because I want parents, because parents, we need to change our thinking as parents, so we don't have the arguments and all that in the house. But so I have parents there, I have teachers there, but I also have a lot of kids that follow us, you know, from workshops. And so, you know, creating reels and stuff like that and trying to make it in a fun sort of way. But my kids cringe man, they're like, Oh, my God, Mom, like what are you doing? And but the kids will visit you for the workshops gone lol, like hilarious, and now tagging like another friend and I'm like, Ah, so it does, you know, he reaches people. But sometimes, you know, the cringe factor is pretty huge when you're doing it because you're like, this is not going go down. 


Angela: That's what I love about being old in the kids' eyes. Everything you do is cringy. We'll just do it anyway. Yes, so true. I've always been a sharp shot. I feel like I could speak to you forever and just really get into a lot of detail. But we will obviously provide all the links to your EDGE workshops and all your social media that we've spoken about. Mullets, please dispel the myths of mullet. Like there's a mullet and there's a mullet. Like, do you shave all the mullet?


Sharna: Yes, I have. Yeah, please vote mallets. Like seriously, let's create the girls in the workshops. I love them. Right? They come up and they go oh my god. You just did a community service. Um, I know. Right? And they're going back. Guys had a mullet. Right. And being proud of it. It's been disgusting. And I'm like, I'm here for you sister. Like, let's cut this thing off. So, at the start, I'll mention it. Okay, we've got barbers here. And I'm telling you, this is a mullet free zone. So we might just have to accidentally trip and remove it, you know, and the kids that boys will start to go home. No one's touching my mullet. And then when it comes to it, they see the barbers that we've got then they're like, Alright, it's going. There's one kid on Luffy Evan, I won't forget him from Columbine High School. And we went there and he was like, it was very neat, mullet wasn't dirty. It was well looked after. But he wanted a school based apprenticeship. And the careers advisor said to me, this kid's got a really good chance. But he's a mallet. Like, why fall? And so right at the start, like I'll pick like, I'll use kids to help me do stuff. And I just, I won't know the names. Okay. Hey, mullet boy. So I call this keep mullet boy throughout the whole thing. I'm like, you're gonna help me mullet boy keep it all the time. So he's like, all right, you know, it's because I said if I talk too much, and I said, I'll get hangry so don't make me go over. He's like, All right. So I'm like kept going mullet boy, what's the time and so I kept referring to and in the end, and I said, you know what I said, I want you to be non-mullet boy. And he just sort of planted that seed is like whatever comes to his group. And he's like, I'm doing it. Get the camera, get the camera. So we'll go in there and we're filming it. And he's like, get over and done with Hurry up. So it's on my Instagram that I keep getting rid of the mullet. And girls come up. Oh my god, he looks so much hotter. And I go go and tell him please. And the kid goes like, you look really hot now. And the boys just go off and then they're all going. Can you cut off my mullet? Yes, we need footballers to do the worst, you know, service to our kids. No employer wants a mullet. 


Sharna: You could be cool without one you can have a really like, I don't mind. You know, employees just don't like the really, you know, really rough looking ones. And I said to the kids, you know, if you want to call it, you know You're gross, but good on you. But if you want one, I said Go for it. But go to a job interview without it and then grow it and say to the employer to recognize Okay, if I get it if I have a mullet because I had employers come in and he knew the kid that had these even that had the mullet cut. And he comes in and he goes, Oh my god, you look like a different kid. He goes, I would hire you now because the kid went in like six months ago and asked for a job and he said he was a good bloke he said but he just felt terrible. And then he's kidding. After the employee come in, he goes come and see me and we'll talk and I'm like, yeah boy.


Angela: Well, not only are you changing young kids' lives, you're showing them you know what it's like the reality of adult life and you are reading the world of mullets. So for that, we all thank you, all of us parents Thank you. And as a woman, I thank you even more Sharna. We will obviously link everything that we've spoken about underneath the podcast, but thank you so much for sharing your time and, more importantly for being a lighthouse as the wonderful Maggie Dent shares for being a lighthouse for a lot of kids in their lives and for being a support crew for parents because we really need people who are supporting our kids and, you know, just being there for them and being able to someone they can throw ideas around with and feel loved and supported. And that's definitely your realm so thanks so much for being that person.

Sharna: Oh, thank you for having me. And I do get you know, there's kids that are part of my workshops that still contact me and ask me questions and I love that that's what I love. So if you do have something you know, find me and send me a message. I'd love to help you out. I don't care wherever you are.

Angela: Thanks so much Sharna while we do know and as you know, we can find anything about you anywhere we want. Thanks so much. We've been joined by Sharna Dawson on A Kid's Life podcast and you can find out anything you'd like about Sharna through all the links below. But of course her EDGE workshops are really life changing for so many kids. So please subscribe to A Kid's Life Podcast and thanks very much for joining us today.