Leo Kelly – Head of Technology Faculty: DT, Computing and Business Studies provides 21 tips for
developing enterprise and employability skills in your centre.
As a Business and Economics teacher for the past 10 years, I have always believed in a culture of helping students develop skills for life, not just focusing on passing exams, which reflects the statement made by the Young Report.
‘Embedding entrepreneurship into a school curriculum helps students to enhance their soft skills and prepares our young people for the next stage of their lives, be that higher or further education, entering employment or setting up their own business.’ (Lord Young Report; 2014)
Embedding a comprehensive culture of enterprise and employability has taken time, with significant collaboration from our careers department and from a whole school prospective. However I believe there are some easy strategies which can enable you to adopt a clear enterprise and employability skills pathway for your school.
Using the Gatsby model helped give clarity when planning our provision. Below are some examples which you may be able to adopt at your school. My top tips also include drawing up a plan, creating a vision, sharing it with your careers representative and leadership team. But most importantly, recruit / hook in those enthusiastic teachers in school who would support driving this forward.
1. Contact your FREE Enterprise Advisor – (LEP – Local Enterprise Partnership) (Gatsby Points 1 to 8)
This will help unlock relationships with local employers and provides you, the careers team or head teacher with strategic counsel to develop an effective careers strategy. An audit can be carried out for internal purposes only to help gauge and measure before and after provision. Up to four free visits per year. You will need to search for your county LEP Support representative.
2. Young Enterprise (Gatsby Point 4,5)
National competition for students who take control and lead their own business. Weekly sessions are supported by a professional advisor from a local business. Our students thrive in this incredibly enriched environment. We simply facilitate and inspire the learning process. The impact is enormous and supports the development of key soft skills which are reflected back in the classroom and in exam outcomes.
3. Making Enterprise ‘real’ (Gatsby Points 1 to 8)
Regular guest speakers and business trips are integral. For example, we invite stakeholders into school such as parents/carers who work in business, or who own their own businesses and contestants from BBC1’s Dragon’s Den – (contact BBC). Visits to organisations range from; Cadbury, Worcester-Bosch to Jaguar Land Rover and Apple in New York and to the Diocese of Western Tanganyika in Tanzania.
4. University visits (Gatsby Points 1 to 8)
The impact of visiting University institutions is endless. Encourage all year groups to take part in regular University visits. Contact your local University outreach representative for more information who offer free and inspiring opportunities.
5. Tenner Challenge (Gatsby Point 4)
There are many schools enterprise competitions, but Tenner Challenge has been a real hit with the students. In groups of four, students are given £10 and have a set time period to see who can be the most entrepreneurial. Our best team achieved £265
6. Inter-house Enterprise challenges (Gatsby Points 3, 4 & 8)
Ensuring enterprise competitions take place on a whole school basis. Offering rewards and showcasing success is paramount in hooking students in.
7. Building a network of local business contacts (Gatsby Points 1, 2, 5 & 6)
Staff & students can start researching and building a mailing list.
8. ‘Business Breakfast’ led by the students (Gatsby Point 5)
Seek two way relationships with local businesses by inviting them to school. Showcase what the school can offer.
9. Future careers posters for subject areas (Gatsby Points 1&7)
This has had a real impact, helping to inspire students about potential career options they have available in their subject areas.
10. Staff Previous Jobs, Skills and Qualifications (Gatsby Points 1&8)
Offering Staff Bios on every classroom door has had a real impact and given students confidence that higher education is achievable.
Other strategies include; (Gatsby Points 1 to 8)
11. Building bespoke enterprise sessions within the curriculum will help raise the profile of Enterprise / employability on a whole school emphasis.
12. Create / join Business/Economics Teachers Network – investigate / sign up!
13. Interviews with local employers – ‘Enterprise speed dating’ – with students asking the same pre-prepared questions to all visitors (all year groups).
14. Build strong enterprise Social Media and Website Presence
15. Enterprise Grid – Monitors skills, events and provides evidence ready for any review / inspection.
16. Enterprise celebration evening – ensuring that all the enterprising young people are recognised at a whole school celebration event – eg Work Experience Award, most Enterprising Student Award.
17. Enterprise page in school newspaper / webpage
18. Learn at work day – Earlier focus with Year 9 – going to work with a parent, relative, family friend – does not have to be a whole year group at a time – could be a different 20 students going to the same employers each term.
19. Charity Day – Year 10
20. Mock interviews – Year 11
21. Long Term Ideas – Student Run Enterprise Hub/Shop – Bespoke enterprise shop selling products created by the students. I’ve seen this in action on a recent school visit with the impact being incredibly enriching to the young people. We are hoping to deliver a similar model in the not too distant future.
Final Top Tips:
It’s essential when building an enterprise brand that you select a strong and appropriate member of staff who will lead and co-ordinate a clear programme. Allow learners to make mistakes. It’s an unnatural feeling for a teacher not to immediately intervene when observing students making errors, but it’s essential you hold back and allow them to try and find the solutions as a team, which involves patience and time. Differentiate financial education from enterprise education. Try to teach the significance of the learning experience rather than striving for financial gains.
Adopting the ideas above will develop: student knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours in preparing young people ready for higher education and employment. The long term impact of equipping students with these skills and experiences is significant.
If you have any questions or would like to collaborate then please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Gatsby. (2018). Gatsby Report. Retrieved from http://www.gatsby.org.uk/uploads/education/reports/pdf/gatsby-sir-john-holman-good-career-guidance-2014.pdf [Accessed 23 Oct. 2018].
CEC. (2018). Joining the Network. Retrieved from, http://www.careersandenterprise.co.uk/enterprise-adviser-network [Accessed 23 Oct. 2018].
Whittaker, F. (2016). Schools Careers Benchmarks are not Accountability Measure. Retrieved from, http://schoolsweek.co.uk/careers-guidance-how-does-your-school-measure-up/ [Accessed 23 Oct. 2018].