Switching on entrepreneurial consciousness in young people

Click here to read this article in Chinese 点击这里阅读中文

Our world is changing rapidly. Developments such as globalisation, technology and population growth are having a huge impact on the careers and employment sector, and in turn this will have a disproportionate impact on our young people. Unlike in the past, employment and job security are becoming much harder to achieve; a steady income is now rarely guaranteed. Many of the jobs of tomorrow don’t yet exist – they need to be conceptualised and created by the young people whose futures will depend as much, if not more, on their enterprise acumen and adaptability than qualifications alone. This means that now, more than ever before, our young people need to be equipped with the skills, know-how and confidence to thrive in an unpredictable future.

No matter how well qualified a person may be, what also matters is how they stand ahead of their competitors by demonstrating that they possess the entrepreneurial acumen, skills and ambition to succeed. Research shows how, from the earliest age, children have a natural ability to be enterprising, and to adapt to their environments. If entrepreneurialism is inate in us all, it is unfortunate that many of us have discovered our ‘entrepreneurial spirit’ later in life – perhaps too late to make the most of its power to drive us to success. By nurturing this natural capacity, to actively switch on the entrepreneurial consciousness of young people early in their lives, they can take full advantage of it as they prepare for life and careers beyond school, through helping them to:

  • Be more confident in their creative potential

  • Be able to respond to challenges and spot opportunities that lie ahead in today’s world.

All economies need men and women who are enterprising and entrepreneurial, whatever their chosen career path. Young people who are equipped to make an effective transition from education to work, and to making their contribution to society, are better prepared and ready for the world of work, including self-employment. Self-employment, and the practice of creating a ‘portfolio career’ is already widespread in response to the realities of the modern job market.

Switching on the entrepreneurial consciousness of young people will ensure they get the necessary head start everyone needs to thrive, by developing their creative thinking and problem-solving skills so they are able to truly flourish.

Around the world, some innovative schools and educationalist are ahead of the game, delivering an enterprise approach to teaching and learning. But for most schools this is not an easy transition to achieve, and in most countries the vast majority retain a conventional educational approach. Even if excellently delivered, conventional schooling can tend to stifle students’ creative and entrepreneurial thinking, rather than enhance it, so programmes such as the International Enterprise Illumination Programme are critical tools to complement and enhance the academic curriculum.