Some people know from the off what they want to do in life, right from their time as schoolchildren. Personally, I always had my heart set on being a plumber since the age of nine.
However, for most I think it’s a pretty big ask to decide what career you’re going to spend your life doing at any age, never mind when you’re asking schoolchildren.
Usually, when kids are asked about dream jobs they come back with the same sorts of answers. A singer for example, a footballer, maybe an astronaut, but it seems that maybe schoolchildren are growing up in a different world now and looking at alternative ways of what it means to be successful.
According to a new study from Barclays, we have a country of budding entrepreneurs, as 42 per cent of schoolchildren aged eight to 16 plan to start a business when they’re older. But, as it stands, only six per cent of UK startups were run by under 25s in 2016.
As a country, we need to do our best to encourage and guide these young, aspiring entrepreneurs. The report suggests that if we do this successfully, we could have 100,000 new companies by 2025, an extra £23.3bn for the UK economy and 400,000 jobs.
There’s some debate over what it takes to become a successful business owner. In fact, 45 per cent of those surveyed feel that you need to take risks, 27 per cent think luck is a requirement, and 17 per cent believe having the right contacts in the family will open doors.
Whether you think it’s down to luck or hard work, and to be honest it’s probably a mixture of the two, a lot of schoolchildren still think that the only way to get a proper start in life is to go to university. The way things have been going lately, however, I’ve never felt more strongly that this isn’t the case.
In fact, I’m going to go so far as to say that universities are actually cash-hungry fraudsters, forcing students to run up eye-watering debts of more than £50,000.
Fees are now up to £9,000 a year, and the way the university industry puts bums on seats is by promising a better life because of a degree, which in thousands of cases just isn’t true.
It’s fraud, plain and simple; and there seems to be nobody calling them out on their lies because they are considered to be untouchable, just because they are educators.
Students are being encouraged to rack up huge debts on the premise that there is no good life without university, and that going to one and getting a degree is worth the money you pay, because it will provide you with a high paying job that arms you with the skills to make it on your own. This is nothing short of a con-job (pardon the pun).
There are tens of thousands of new graduates every year who cannot get jobs, and many more who wind up in jobs that they could have got before they shelled out for university. This is enough to knock anyone’s self-worth for the long-term and bring those dreams of one day setting up a business to an immediate halt.
There is of course at least one other path to a fulfilling career, with the money and confidence to make it in life and that’s an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships also come with the added bonus of having no fees, so no debt and you actually get paid while you’re learning your trade.
As I’ve said before, obviously, the same thing doesn’t work for everyone and the same goes for entrepreneurs. There’s the ones who will have been to university and the ones, like me, who haven’t.
Moving forward, we need to make a conscious decision to do what it takes to make sure that childhood dreams and passion can transcend into adulthood. This can be done by giving them the right tools to begin with.
We need to look at means of education and support for these potential entrepreneurs, and others that could take an alternative route to higher education, rather than punishing them with heaps of debt at the very start of their working career.