A report out this week recommends all school children and college students should have an understanding of entrepreneurship before they go out into the world of work.
The Prime Minister's Small Business and Enterprise Adviser Lord Young said in his Enterprise For All report that those in education should receive a 'lifelong experience of enterprise in education' to equip them for survival in an economic environment that has changed both 'structurally and socially' through technology.
Already 55 per cent of young people of school leaving age in the UK say they would like to start a business, according to the RBS Youth Enterprise Tracker, with 95.9 per cent of the companies in the UK now employing less than ten employees.
Lord Young's suite of recommendations include:
• A network of enterprise advisers at school for head teachers
• The extension of the Fiver scheme to reach 40,000 children - which sees pupils receiving a £5 note and using it to generate more cash with a business for a month.
• Enterprise passport - a digital report that tracks and records enterprise experience in order to create a record of employability that's not based on academic performance
• Teachers to spend some inset days with employers to understand more about the world of work
• Universities to have an enterprise module and develop strong enterprise societies
• All Level 3 vocational courses should include a module on working for yourself and how to start up a business.
• The introduction of an Enterprise 'E-Star' Award to assess and recognise a university's commitment to entrepreneurship.
I agree. Lord Young is right when he says that education has historically been an assembly line to create people who can work for large companies, often for the rest of their lives.
The world has changed immeasurably. Today's workforce needs to be more commercially-minded, have an eye for enterprise and how to create their own value whilst enjoying meaningful, independent work. Today we are seeing a boom in self-employment. There are now more self-employed people than those employed by the private sector for example - and it's a trend that isn't going to go away because society has changed.
Young people need to at least be able to have a rudimentary understanding of how the commercial world works and we as a society need to find ways to measure and nurture this new entrepreneurial spirit.