Robert and Tracy Wall Robert and Tracy Wall of Burleigh Heads in Queensland, Australia, have worked as a husband and wife team through their business Natural Ability Pty Ltd for the last seven years. Together, they serve adults and students in transition, but mainly focus their time on private high schools and their students, especially over the last year.
The Highlands Ability Battery (HAB) is the foundational testing tool they use. In the high schools, they run a two part, three-hour workshop that is interactive and educates the student on what abilities mean, what their abilities are, and how their abilities fit the working world. In addition, they do a one-hour session with parents to explain the process, abilities, the importance of the process, and to demonstrate how the reports can assist their child in planning their future.
“We sincerely believe the HAB is one of the best tools for aptitude,” Robert said. “Most of our clients give glowing comments on the process.”
In a short time, the pair has coached close to 1,000 students. Demand continues to grow as word spreads about their program, which is particularly useful for Australian high school students because they are required to select an academic path in the 10th grade. Taking the HAB early on helps to ensure the student chooses a track that suits them best.
The Professional Paths That Got Them Here
Robert has a diverse entrepreneurial background with 30 years of business and marketing experience in a range of different industries ranging from telecommunications, media, mining, and education development. He has founded and managed international businesses with staffing levels of up to 300 and providing services to over 50 countries.
Tracy is an experienced counselor who has studied both psychology and counseling and also has a background in teaching ESL. Tracy is also a qualified Reformer Pilates instructor.
They discovered Highlands through a class Tracy took which required the development of a program for a school, government, or other institution. Robert had taken the Johnson O’Conner test when he was 16, and the idea popped in his head that it would be a good conceptual idea to develop a school program around. They did a web search and found the Highlands. They never used the concept for the university class, but they developed the business, and the rest is history.
Why High School Students?
When asked why they enjoy working with high school students, they both agreed that it’s because students are fresh with possibilities.
“They are willing to look out and dream about the future.”
But, like with any age group, there are challenges. Robert explained that sometimes if a student is doing well grade-wise they may not believe their HAB test score or sometimes students and their parents have unrealistic expectations and will discount the report.
However, the overwhelming response is a positive one. Take for instance this feedback from a school career counselor: “I have received some wonderful feedback from both students and parents following your time here — so much that the parents are wondering if they could access it for their other children.”
Another key reason they enjoy working in schools is that it is a natural fit for the market and by doing group and whole grade sessions it allows them to bring this great service to more people. Economies of scale allow the price to be more affordable too.
You can learn more about Robert and Tracy’s practice at NaturalAbility.com.au.