How to inspire young people to become entrepreneurs

Crossroads

At the end of the academic year a significant amount of focus for College staff is directed towards leavers. We naturally want to make sure that they are equipped with all the career tools which will make them successful after College graduation. Therefore, we spend hours checking CVs, helping with job searches and looking for work placements to give them the best start possible.

While working in a FE College during one of the busiest June periods, I was hit by a sudden discovery. Although the future pathway is straightforward for students who have applied for University, what is of more concern is the future of students on vocational courses whose career paths do not have clearly prescribed steps.

On top of this, as much as vocational students consider finding employment or apprenticeships, they rarely enquire about self-employment! I started to wonder:

Why on earth are students that have a specific trade in their hands not thinking about becoming self-employed?

Very quickly I discovered that in order to encourage entrepreneurship, we need to inspire young people to become entrepreneurs by simply imprinting in their brains that:

  • Self-employment is one of the many valid career options
  • Self-employment is as achievable as getting a job
  • Self-employment can be achieved with a set of clear tools

If your vocational students do not realise these three simple points, they will not become entrepreneurs. In order to transform their mindset towards entrepreneurial thinking, try the following:

Organize enterprise workshops

Everything starts with shaping young people’s awareness. Through interactive workshops you can set young people enterprise challenges to get them into right spirit. You will be surprised how many valid business ideas they have! Also educate them on the steps they need to take to become self-employed so that the path to reach that destination will be clearer for them.

Create business hubs

I am sure you have an internal employability team that supports students with their CVs, UCAS applications and interview preparation. Why not also have a point of contact for entrepreneurship? Create a business hub for young entrepreneurs where they can gain valuable advice on the logistics of setting up businesses, find useful resources, and network with each other.

Invite experts to inspire

Entrepreneurship is often perceived by young people as something impossible only achievable by “adults.” Prove them wrong. Invite young entrepreneurs to tell their story to your students. Show them that it is possible to graduate from College and start their own business. Contact organisations which support entrepreneurs and you will be surprised how many volunteers you will find who would be keen to share their knowledge of starting a business with your students.

The aim of these 3 easy steps is to simply start planting the seed of entrepreneurship. Your vocational students have the perfect set of skills to become entrepreneurs but they just need to realise that this goal is achievable.

Written by K Mitura

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