What is enterprise education?
It’s the learning of enterprise capability, supported by financial capability and economic and business understanding. Especially the ability to cope with uncertainty, responding positively to change, able to use ones initiatives and be innovate, implementing new ideas and systems. As well as being able to assess risk to reward effectively, and the adoption of a ‘can-do’ attitude.
Effective enterprise education provides the opportunity for participants to learn essential life skills through doing, kinaesthetic or experiential learning if you like. Including communication, negotiation, functioning in meetings, identifying problems, assessing need and working collaboratively with others to find viable solutions and then putting those solutions into practice, through project planning, implementation and reflection
Learners are expected to take personal responsibility for their own actions through an enterprise process that involves four distinct stages.
- Stage 1 - tackling a problem or need: participants generate ideas through discussion to reach a common understanding of what is required to resolve the problem or meet the need.
- Stage 2 - planning the project or activity: breaking down tasks, organising resources, deploying team members and allocating responsibilities.
- Stage 3 - implementing the plan: solving problems, monitoring progress.
- Stage 4 - evaluating the processes: reviewing activities and final outcomes, reflecting on lessons learned and assessing the skills, attitudes, qualities and understanding acquired.
Why is enterprise education important for young people?
Enterprise education teaches essential life skills, which may otherwise not be part of the more formal curriculum. There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that enterprise education can have a significant impact on attainment, behaviour and perhaps more importantly opportunity.
A Business Dynamics survey in 2001 found that 32% of KS4 students wanted to start their own business, in 2008 that figure has jumped to 53%. Similarly a recent study by Edge showed that those young people involved in Young Enterprise initiatives are significantly more likely to start a business, feel more satisfied in their jobs and make more money than their peers.
This all supports the development of an important cultural shift towards self-reliance, innovation and community consciousness. In addition, in this current economic climate it is ever more important to be providing young people and young adults with the skills, will and motivation to generate economic growth through small business start-up and job creation.
In addition there are of course legislative reasons for providing these opportunities to young people, such as a statutory requirement on schools to provide at least 5 days of enterprise education to KS4 students, the QCA encouraging schools to adopt an enterprising culture and ethos, and an increasing prevalence of OFSTED considering these factors when inspecting. In addition to all of this, enterprise education helps to fulfil the Every Child Matters guidelines as well as the ever complex PSHE and citizenship curriculum.