Young people continue to amaze me — especially Young Enterprise students. Young Enterprise is an educational charity that helps its participants ‘learn by doing’. They get a dose of the real world by setting up and running their own business.
Annually, we hold a kick off day to help the students get started. They start forming their companies, select their board of directors, begin their product development journey and get a feel for the journey ahead of them. A few years ago we struggled to get a dozen or so interested in participating — now we have over 100 competing in our local area each year. And last year, our teams advanced toward National finals further than ever before — winning the top county awards and showing well at regional level competitions.
This sort of ‘extra curricular’ programme no longer serves as the parking lot for those trying to escape the classroom — rather it’s for the truly ambitious… the real achievers… and the launching pad for tomorrow’s entrepreneurs. It’s the solution that disgruntled employers are looking for… employers who are frustrated that graduates leave school without sufficient communication skills, lack ability to problem solve, fail to take their own initiative, have no basic understanding of how business works or struggle to perform in a team environment.
Schools need to be measured and rewarded for making these sorts of experiences more accessible to students. And, we all need to encourage more young people to participate in programmes such as Young Enterprise to help them build the crucial skills and the confidence they need to have a successful working life.