Richard Cormack Corrigan - What's the point? Is it worth it?
Whats the point? Is it worth it? These are the two questions I normally ask new candidates on the Accelerator programmes I help run at Elevator. Before they commit to 8 or 12-week programmes designed to take their business or business idea to the next level we need to know if we are wasting their time because if the final destination is not worth the effort there is no point, and it isn’t worth it!
The other half of my job is when I work in schools, universities, and colleges promoting enterprise in education and I apply the same rule to myself, what’s the point and indeed is it worth it?!
Whats the point of teaching or promoting enterprise in school if only a small percentage of the young people will ultimately end up as your Dragons Den style entrepreneurs pitching for investment or running their own businesses? You could argue that these entrepreneurs end up, to use a contentious phrase, as wealth creators, employing others and helping to contribute to the growth of our economy. Most would agree that this is a good thing, but does it alone justify investment in Enterprise in Education? What about the future doctors, firefighters, teachers, travel agents, You Tubers, carers, scientists and …well any other job role or title you can think of? Whats the point of learning about enterprise for this overwhelming majority? Whats it worth for them?
In Education in Scotland there is rightly a move to align skills taught with skills required in the workplace. To aid this organisations such as DYW and Young Enterprise Scotland do great work bringing Employability Skills into the spotlight and often connecting business and businesspeople with schools to help make learning relevant and be real world applicable. I believe Enterprise Skills are just as relevant. In fact, if you were to draw a Venn diagram plotting Enterprise v Employability skills you would pretty much end up end up with a circle!
A statement I hear a lot from opinion leaders in the education and business sectors is that “many of the jobs of the future don’t yet exist”! How then can you prepare young people for this uncertain future? Could teaching enterprising skills the answer!? According to Skills Development Scotland (SDS) they suggest something called Skills 4.0. or Meta-skills which are flexible skills designed to enable learners prepare for these yet to be created jobs! Skills that fall under categories such as, self-management, social intelligence, innovation which coincidently are skills associated with entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs. From personal experience these are exactly the skills we look to instil or develop on our Accelerator programmes. I found a really good diagram from the Higher Education Academy that makes a lot of sense to me.
The truth is in every visit I make to a school when I see with my own eyes the difference it can make and the worth of it. I see children who perhaps are not the most academically gifted suddenly become inspired and interested and engaged as never before and shine! So yes, I really do think enterprise in education makes sense and offers its own rewards today and in an ever-changing world these entrepreneurial / enterprising skills will be not so much worth it as priceless!