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This former Google employee is opening a futuristic first-of-its-kind learning centre for HSC students in Australia

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A new Google-inspired HSC learning centre will open its doors today with a mission to train the brightest young minds in Sydney for stellar careers in science, medicine, mathematics and English.

The first of its kind in Australia, the Talent 100 centre is the brainchild of Richard Chua – a former Business Strategy Associate at Google’s Mountain View Headquarters in Silicon Valley.

Richard started Talent 100, a network of learning centres in Sydney, while still at university (he is 32 now), using the methods of HSC scaling he devised to get a perfect UAT score of 100 when he was a student at Sydney Grammar.

He got the score after a bet with his father to beat his sister’s almost perfect marks. No fuel burns like sibling rivalry!

What’s interesting about Talent 100 is that Richard grew the company remotely while working for Bain & Co (Sydney) and then at Google’s headquarters in San Francisco. He is now doing his MBA at Harvard University (he quit Google after he got into the course).

Now, Talent 100 has over $3 million in turnover, has helped more than 4,700 students succeed in their chosen fields and has a higher population than a normal high school.

What he has created at Talent 100’s new Chatswood centre that launches today is amazing as most school kids do not have access to such environments.

What is the motivation behind this new centre?

Richard is a firm believer in giving kids a ‘third space’ between home and school and as such, with his new centre, has created a learning and communal destination that fuels teen brains and inspires innovative thinking. 

“The third place concept ensures a healthy mindset, providing students with a proven, holistic approach to mastering the HSC that will help them navigate their way through rapidly changing academic and career dynamics,” says Richard.

“Education in Australia is experiencing a seismic shift. Today’s best jobs didn’t exist 20 years ago and we need to provide skills that help students adapt to rapid changes in technology and the economy.

“Whether that is a Google software engineer working on projects that will change the world to research, science and technology that change the way people access health care to technological innovation that will reduce our global environmental footprint on the earth.”

What does this new centre have to offer?

With design thinking that focuses on 21st century learning, the new centre delivers a holistic and aspirational learning environment.

The fusion of everyday mindfulness with digital technology, including digital yoga, brain training via smart screens and interactive screen technology will be available to students along with informal open community learning spaces – a famous feature of Google offices around the world.

“We are bringing the best of Google home to Sydney, leading the way for greater innovative learning, demystifying the HSC for students and helping them identify their career path in what can be a challenging time in a student’s life”, says Richard.

“I was inspired by my time at Google – where we had fun, creative communal workspaces that fostered some of the greatest minds on the planet.

“They call this ‘work-life blend’ in Silicon Valley – the idea that when you’re really passionate about something, there doesn’t always need to be a distinction between your work and your personal life.”

The centre will include the following features, inspired by Google offices in Silicon Valley and New York;

  • Recharge and refocus areas offering mindfulness, meditation, digital yoga and brain training via smart screens
  • Digital innovation such as interactive ipad stations and information zones, interactive LCD’s and iBeacons to augment their experience
  • A fully functional open plan kitchen that forms the central hub of the centre designed to encourage informal community learning and sharing – a significant feature of all Google offices and a major design feature for the Talent 100 centre
  • Inspirational classrooms with moving ergonomic chairs designed by ideo one of the world’s leading creative innovation and design thinking companies
  • Break out spaces and pods where you can connect via USB ports to study alone and in groups
  • Integrated technology learning experiences with a digital e-learning platform so students can have support and materials anytime, anywhere

The new Talent 100 learning centre will be based at Chatswood on Sydney’s north shore, with classes being offered after school and on weekends 7 days a week from 9am to 8pm.

“More and more we are finding that students are engaging in tutoring a lot earlier as they are more informed on the need to bridge the significant gap between year 10 and 11 and learn ahead of their peers,” Richard says.

“Right now, our student base has a great mix of students from selective, public and private schools. I think that’s a testament to the meritocratic culture here. We have students from all socioeconomic backgrounds who share a passion for learning and achieving coming here,” he went on to reveal.

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