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Parliamentary presentation for Kingston Young Enterprise research

Wednesday 05 February 2014

In its recent report An Entrepreneurial Profile of Young Enterprise Participants, Kingston University Small Business Research Centre asked 8,000 people aged 18-64 if they had taken part in programmes run by Young Enterprise – the UK’s largest business and enterprise education charity – and what effect this had on their lives.

The study was carried out in partnership with the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, and concludes that its findings: “offer clear evidence that taking part in a programme at school or university does appear to have an impact on a set of attitudes which are associated with entrepreneurial potential.”


It goes on to say that the principal strengths of Young Enterprise are in developing enterprising skills, attitudes and capabilities that could be used in many situations, not just business.

The Kingston research comes at the same time that a poll of 418 senior company managers by Opinium Research showed 9 out of 10 would like enterprise education included in the national curriculum. The managers believe this would help reduce youth unemployment.

These findings were announced at a recent parliamentary reception hosted by Young Enterprise that highlighted how Britain is failing to prepare young people for work. Michael Mercieca, chief executive of Young Enterprise, said:

“It is shocking that, in a country with one million young unemployed, 70 per cent of employers say it is difficult to find young people with the right skills to fill vacant entry-level posts. It is high time we aligned the education system to the employment market by making enterprise education a formal part of the national curriculum and started assessing schools, colleges and universities on employment success as well as academic success.” Young Enterprise already supports 250,000 young people a year.

Dr Rosemary Athayde, senior researcher, Kingston Business School has been involved in several evaluation studies of Young Enterprise programmes. “Our study has some outstanding results,” she said, “including Young Enterprise participants having more positive attitudes and becoming more self-confident. It was a great event for Young Enterprise, as the research and personal experiences of the participants were inspiring and offer a great platform for future research in this area.”


Facts and figures

In An Entrepreneurial Profile of Young Enterprise Participants, the Kingston researchers showed that people who have been on Young Enterprise schemes are:

  • more likely to perceive good opportunities to start a local business (43.3 per cent compared to 34.1 per cent)

  • more likely to believe they have the knowledge, skills and experience needed to start a business (58.4 per cent compared to 45.7 per cent)

  • that those aged over 30 are more likely to be running an established business than non-alumni (12.5 per cent compared to 8.7 per cent).

In Opinium Young Enterprise Employability Report:

  • 92 per cent of senior managers said it was “important” or “very important” that enterprise education should be offered in schools.

  • 43 per cent of senior managers in the UK believe the education system does not teach young people the skills they need to enter the workforce (compared to an average of 21 per cent across France, Spain and Germany)

  • 70 per cent of UK employers said it is difficult to find good quality applicants for entry-level jobs.

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