For experienced educator Lawrence Mackey, building a successful business is all about contributing and community.
“How does it contribute to your community? How does it contribute to the planet?” he asks.
Mr Mackey, founder and CEO of Techskill Academy, was working in the oil and gas sector as a senior project manager when he got his first taste of educating.
“I was doing the onboarding and training, and really enjoyed it.”
“Training has pretty good contribution. Recruitment is good, you help people find work, they get that job earning more than they did in their last job, helps them support their families. But education, I just thought you could really turn things around with a good education company.”
Mr Mackey took the opportunity to build his own education company, Techskill Academy.
But before he did, he asked himself two questions.
“Does it serve a purpose? Does it solve a problem?”
Mr Mackey believes a business needs to be based on one of these two.
“To me, it’s about contributing. Are you solving a problem? Are you contributing to a market which needs help?”
Convinced that education is vital and change a person’s life, he dove in headfirst.
“It took six months to set up, eight months for the registration to come through from government and we launched in January 2015.”
Mr Mackey is full of admiration for his staff and defers any praise to those who work hard behind the scenes to ensure students are getting the best learning experience possible.
That hard work has paid off, with Techskill Academy scoring a nomination at the Telstra Best of Business Awards.
But when it comes to awards and nominations, Mr Mackey is equally adamant any focus should be on the business as a whole and what it could mean for creating future opportunities and partnerships.
“The recognition is about the people in the business. If there is anything to the recognition, it takes us out of obscurity. Businesses can only be successful if people know you.”
He is a huge advocate in the power of education.
“You have to educate yourself. As a kid, or as an adult.”
“And we aren’t out there selling sugary soft drinks to kids, we are giving people the power of self-development and education. It’s something we all truly believe in.”
While Techskill Academy has grown since 2015, and now boasts a range of associated brands such as Eo Academy and Licence2Trade, Mr Mackey still has big plans, and it comes back to his original reason for starting the company.
“The purpose for Techskill Academy is: we will be the best online training platform in the country for that blue-collar space.”
“We want to be a brand people use more than once. The tech side of things must be spot on. It has to be seamless, it has to be intuitive, it has to be easy to use, it has to be current. There is no one out there doing that.”