The combination of education and enterprise is a relatively recent concept being brought into the classroom.
But what exactly does it mean?
“Enterprise education is enterprise capability supported by better financial capability and economic and business understanding. Enterprise capability includes innovation, creativity, risk management, risk taking, a can-do attitude and the drive to make ideas happen.”
(Developing Enterprising Young People Ofsted, HMI 2460, 2005).
This essentially means that students are given the opportunity to learn about work and business environments, as well as the various skills and attributes that are needed to succeed.
Bright Green Enterprise uses our three specially developed programmes to open up the world of enterprise and work to students, specifically looking at the areas of environment, society and international development. Whilst working on any of our challenge programmes, students are able to practice and develop their enterprise skills, also known as ‘soft skills’, ‘21st century skills’, ‘career skills’ or ‘employability skills’!
Enterprise skills aren’t just important for going into ‘business’, but are essential in all walks of life. Working within any sector or industry requires these basic skills, in order to perform effectively and efficiently, whilst ensuring the ability to work with others when necessary. As well as in working life, these skills have relevance in many social, personal and societal situations.
Enterprise skills include:
- Problem Solving
- Decision Making
As we tell all of the students on our programmes, these enterprise skills cannot be taught, but are developed and enhanced through practice. By challenging them with a variety of business based tasks, students are able to practise a wide range of skills, and identify areas which may need improvement for their future success. Whilst many of these skills can be practised within other classroom activities, by bringing enterprise into education, students are able to experience the demands and expectations of real-life working challenges, with the support and expertise of business professionals, whilst still in the familiar environment of school.
A first interview or job is daunting for most people, and having a solid knowledge of these skills ensures a strong self-awareness and understanding of your own abilities. Being able to recognise your strengths and weaknesses, means you can be confident in approaching the areas where you know you are capable, and challenge yourself in areas where personal development is required.
Why do they matter?
In the academic year of 2012-2013 there were 2.3 million students in Higher Education in the UK. In this same year 788,000 qualifications were awarded, 51% being a First degree and 33% a Postgraduate qualification*. With more and more students heading on to Higher Education establishments, it is increasingly important for students to stand out from the crowd, and offer more than just good grades to prospective universities or employers. Having the opportunity to practise skills such as those listed above, ensures a well-rounded individual, with a good grasp on what it means to function (and succeed) in a competitive world.
“Today’s event really helped me to understand and appreciate Enterprise Education. It also developed my skills in teamwork and business.”
(Green Dragons programme, Year 9 student)
“It helped me survive giving a presentation and being able to deliver my work and thoughts to an audience. I thought it was a very good day.”
(Big Launch programme, Year 10 student)
As part of the BGE team delivering these important skills in so many schools, I really enjoy witnessing the personal development of each student throughout the course of a challenge programme day. Knowing that this is the next generation of business entrepreneurs and global citizens, it is a privilege to watch students grow in confidence of their own abilities and recognise their role in future society.
*Statistics from Higher Education Statistics Agency: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/pr/3226-press-release-208