Any other business

Young Enterprise calls for "entrepreneurship curriculum"

3 min read

27 July 2011

Young Enterprise has launched a campaign – backed by 80 private-sector organisations – calling for entrepreneurship to be added to the statutory curriculum in UK schools.

Blogging yesterday, Ian Smith, chairman of Young Enterprise, wrote: “What I see in the new government’s approach is an alarming lack of focus on the skills, attitudes and behaviours that young people actually need, and understand they need, to be successful in their working lives. Skills like teamwork, presentation, reliability, honesty, integrity, and punctuality, which employers like me look for when taking on new recruits.”

Smith says he fears the Department of Education is ignoring the “enormous amount of evidence that young people can also learn by doing” – giving them the opportunity to run their own real businesses while they are still at school and college.

Smith also takes a swipe at senior managers who “blame the attitude of British workers for their own failures.”

“My message to business is: don’t just sit in meetings moaning about the attitude of British workers, get yourself and your employees out among young people as business mentors.”

With nearly a million young people unemployed throughout the economy – and 84 graduates chasing every job that is available – Smith has launched the Young Enterprise Charter, a petition to get enterprise education firmly established in the statutory curriculum. 

Young Enterprise, a charity funded largely by sponsorship from the private sector, will be presenting the results to Parliament in October this year. So far, the Charter has been signed by around 80 organisations. And yes, Real Business has signed up, too.

Smith’s plea is also backed by Rod Aldridge, founder of The Aldridge Foundation and the founder of Capita, a British company specialising in business process outsourcing.

The Aldridge Foundation has just released a report showing that only one third of teachers have had the teaching of entrepreneurial skills included as part of their training – even though seven out of ten believe that entrepreneurialism should be part of their teacher-training.  

“These findings show a clear gap between teachers’ wish to encourage entrepreneurialism and a lack practical training to deliver it,” says Aldridge. “If we are going to wage war on the enemies of enterprise, then we need to start with helping teachers equip tomorrow’s entrepreneurs with the skills to take advantage of the new opportunities.  The current teacher-training system simply doesn’t train them in how to help their pupils adopt an entrepreneurial mindset.”

We, too, believe that Britain needs an enterprise renaissance. At this year’s Growing Business Awards, we’ve launched a new award to recognise young people who are encouraging enterprise in their school, college, university, place of work or community. Read more about the Young Star of Enterprise Award here.

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