Utilising his experience of building a number of businesses, the government has again turned to Lord Young for advice – this time on how to bring entrepreneurship into education.
Lord Young has described his Enterprise for All report as being about motivating young people to learn and excel in their education.
The report has been complied as part of Young’s role as advisor to prime minister David Cameron on small business and enterprise. It is the second time he has published findings on the business world, with a separate report covering the topic of start-ups.
Contained within Enterprise for All are three central themes: captive, continuous and coherent. It covers the ‘full breadth of education’, and is aimed at leaders, teachers and those involved in policy, administration and delivery of teaching.
Young wants to create a ‘lifelong experience of enterprise in education’ which is captive and meaningful to young people, continuous throughout primary and secondary school and coherent through government messages, measuring of enterprise activity and access.
The advisor is calling for ‘real-life contact with business and work’ and application of early enterprise learning through the latter stages of education.
Young wants to create an Enterprise Passport that facilitates the recording of enterprise learning throughout education. The digital passport is said to represent a differentiator for employers seeking ‘proven employability skills’.
The publication of a Future Employment and Earnings Record after leaving education will, Young says, be ‘transformational’ to the way young people access which academic institutions and subject areas provide the best prospects. This will be done through a league table process to promote competition and improvement.
Enterprise at an early age appears central to Young’s report. Starting at the beginning, he suggests primary school children be offered £5 to run a mini-business for a month. The Fiver programme will, he believes, create an ‘enduring taste of enterprise and business’.
A new national volunteer network of Enterprise Advisors is encouraged for when kids reach secondary school. This is being proposed to get schools and local businesses working closer together, a key component of Young’s report.
Young appears to point towards a lack of enterprise-related themes in the current curriculum when he calls for the ’embedding of flavour’ into new materials and exams. Experience in business for teachers as part of the existing Continuous Professional Development features, with a training programme mooted as a way to provide teachers the skills and attitude needed to prosper in the world of business.
When young people reach the further education stage, Young sees a focus on professional trades and vocational careers as representative of a ‘fertile ground’ for self-employment and entrepreneurship.
But to reinforce this, the report includes a suggestion for courses to include not only skills of the trade but actually how to run that particular business. Working for yourself is an obvious way Young sees those entering trade-based courses as succeeding.
Moving onto the final education period, higher education, a basic rally for universal access to enterprise and entrepreneurship leads Young’s thoughts. This starts with an elective enterprise module, he says, and follows after with an enterprise society at each institution.
Other higher education features contained in Enterprise for All involve a start-up programme at all universities that have business schools holding Small Business Charter status and the creation of an incentive and reward structure for enterprise activity – led by the Duke of York.
In his direct message to David Cameron, Young says, ‘It is difficult to exaggerate the importance of enterprise in all it storms in a modem economy.
‘We can no longer afford to be an island in a globalised world and our competitors will not wait for us.’
Enterprise, he urges, means more than just the ability to become an entrepreneur – more a desirable quality. Despite being in abundance at the start of education, Young sees it as petering out by the time secondary school comes around.
In conclusion we are left with these words from Young: ‘This report looks at fostering an enterprising attitude tin both formal and informal education, including the desire to become an entrepreneur, and encoring more to enter self-employment or start their own company.’
Here is some industry reaction to Lord Young’s Enterprise for All.
Katja Hall, CBI Deputy-Director General, says, ‘Preparing young people to succeed in life and work is fundamental to what we ask of our schools. Business is clear that a good education means more than just exam results and must take into account the attitudes and behaviours school leavers will need in the world of work. Enterprise education is vital to this, and this report is a big step especially the idea of every school having an enterprise adviser.
‘Linking curriculum subjects to real life examples will help young people see the relevance of their learning, while the new enterprise passport will help ensure the knowledge and skills developed away from exams are understood outside the school gates. It’s also right to look at how we help teachers build their experience outside school and we look forward to working with the government on this.
‘But we still need the government to address the perilous condition of our careers guidance system. Young people need to be aware of all the different work opportunities and routes to success available, so better advice and more business involvement will be key to achieving this.’
Shalini Khemka, CEO of E2Exchange, says, ‘Lord Young’s report goes a long way in filling the void in current education initiatives. A major challenge now will be how to best implement these recommendations across the differing institutions, particularly in the latter years of higher education where there is so much variation in the quality.
‘The key now is to ensure that there are the necessary guidelines to help business and industry support of these proposals to transform them from recommendations into actions with full government backing. There should be a very clear route for entrepreneurs to support the education of the next generation of business creators.
‘Putting entrepreneurship at the heart of UK education is absolutely vital to ensuring that future generations nurture and foster a new wave of bright, creative, determined entrepreneurs who can light up the economy and drive us forward to renewed prosperity and success.’