How entrepreneurial young Scots are clicking with business trailblazers

In an attempt to encourage entrepreneurship in schools, an innovative multi-partner ‘Change Challenge’ project has already engaged 30,000 pupils across the country with a series of informative digital Q&A sessions hosted by two inspiring Scottish businesspeople 

TO help keep the career aspirations of young Scots alive in the midst of the challenges caused by the pandemic, in January two Scottish entrepreneurs appeared in virtual classrooms across Scotland to encourage the school students to view themselves as business people in the making.

Together, Lucy McOuat, the founder of McWhat Media and Jan Fleming, a Scottish Edge Wildcard winner and the founder of two fashion businesses, introduced 11–14-year-olds to The Change Challenge, inviting them to create a product or service that would have a positive impact on the lives of someone in their immediate, local or global community.  
The sessions were an overwhelming success.

Lucy, an SES (Scotland’s Enterprising Schools) Programme Executive, was closely involved with the project. She said: “I love to challenge perceptions of ‘enterprise’ and am keen to spread the word that it’s not all about making money. 

HeraldScotland:

“An enterprise can also add social or cultural value for others. 

“The Change Challenge is a way for young people to see real-life applications of their learning and by sharing our stories as entrepreneurs, hopefully we can inspire them to put their ideas into practice.”

Both Jan and Lucy are also linked to Young Enterprise Scotland, and their experience with the charity helped them deliver the Challenge as part of a pioneering project, DYW Live, which is a collaboration between e-sgoil, the online education service, Education Scotland and the DYW Scotland Regional Groups. 

More than 300 sessions were delivered as part of the programme to an estimated attendance of over 30,000 young people in last school year.

That success now means that DYW Live is being expanded to run across the entire 2021-22 academic year and underpins not only the value of online learning to engage a wider school audience in careers education, but also how new technology connects teachers and students with new partners and businesses that were previously unattainable.

Julie Degnan, Project Manager for Scotland’s Enterprising Schools, said: “The initial project was in direct response to school closures and children isolating, and we were delighted to get involved. 

HeraldScotland:

“It is so important that school students get continuous and meaningful access to careers advice and skills development, and we did this by taking classes through a business problem or challenge and connecting them with local entrepreneurs.

“As importantly, it has created a new way to operate that suits teachers, students and external partners. It is literally expanding access to careers’ inspiration and enterprise education provision to all.”

The expanded DYW Live programme which kicks off this week involves both CPD teacher training as well as a full complement of workshops and sessions provided by over 26 different organisations, ranging from the Social Enterprise Academy and the Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme through to Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult and Merck Bioreliance. 

The courses now also include a range of certified options (equivalent to SQA Highers at SCQF level 6), including foundation apprentices and the YE Scotland Company Programme to senior pupils, with more planned for the near future.

Alexander Littley, the DYW Live Coordinator, said: “Career inspiration is vital for learners and DYW Live was created to provide learners access to inspiration and support, ensuring learners are able to access the work skills, employability knowledge and career inspiration that they need. 

“The hard work and high-quality delivery by our partners have been critical. 

“The majority of our sessions are led by partner organisations like Young Enterprise Scotland and their drive and commitment are essential. Equally, all the entrepreneurs we worked with had a passion to encourage and enable others to grow, which was wonderful to see.

“At the same time, the use of the Glow platform which provides equity of access, ensures safeguarding and the provides a safe haven for learners and educators.

“This is about ensuring we are truly developing the workforce of the future.”

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Challenge was a date for change at Callander Primary

THE pupils of Callander Primary School fully embraced The Change Challenge to develop their own ideas for companies that would make a social impact. 

They created company brands and identities, considered their marketing plans and costs. 

They then pitched their ideas to a panel of entrepreneurial judges, culminating in a celebration of learning to reflect on the skills they acquired and how these can be applied to other areas of their lives and the workplace.

A collaboration between Young Enterprise (YE) Scotland and Scotland’s Enterprising Schools, the challenge produced ideas on music for empowerment, a bespoke line of clothing designed for children with disabilities and a concept for a pre-worn kids and teens clothing shop, complete with spinning wheel to win discounts.

Pupils were then able to apply their learning from The Change Challenge to their work with the Social Enterprise Academy. 

This led to their own ‘Safe Space’ social enterprise, which is being now established within the school.

Judging the competition, young businesswoman Jan Fleming, a YE Scotland programme executive, commented on the mature thinking and compassion shown by the young people.

HeraldScotland:

“When pupils are given the opportunity to engage with entrepreneurs they can become inspired through real life stories, recognising that they could be an entrepreneur themselves one day. By engaging directly, they also can get answers to their questions – this has a far greater impact than carrying out an internet search, for example, as it creates a memorable learning experience. 

“In turn, by engaging with young people, the entrepreneurs see their enthusiasm and gain fresh perspectives which can even re-ignite their own passion for business.”

This article was brought to you in partnership with Young Enterprise Scotland (YES) as part of The Herald’s Future of Education campaign

The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992