More than 300 young people from across Glasgow, Lanarkshire and Ayrshire are gaining entrepreneurial experience thanks to funding from UK Steel Enterprise (UKSE).
Charitable organisation Young Enterprise Scotland (YES) equips young people with the skills needed to start their own business, secure employment or enter further education. To assist them on their mission, UKSE has granted £7,500 for its ‘Company Programme’ initiative.
Arranged in partnership with schools, the year-long initiative is designed for pupils aged 16 to 18, who are tasked with setting up and managing a business. In addition to creating a product or offering a service, the budding entrepreneurs are required to assign real-world roles, such as financial secretary and marketing manager, as well as develop business plans and make tax payments.
The student’s products, which have previously included jewellery, children’s books or clothing, are then sold through various channels, such as online platforms and at local trade fairs. Teams then decide how they most effectively use their profits. At the end of the course, teams will attend a national competition to showcase their successes in the hopes of being named ‘Company of the Year.”
The programme gives participants practical experience in financial literacy, problem solving, presentation and communication skills, giving them a host of attributes intended to prepare them for later life.
Throughout the process, teams will receive support and guidance from a dedicated mentor; a volunteer from the local business community. The mentor’s primary role is to advise students, provide insight into company structures and encourage creativity and team work.
Geoff Leask, chief executive at Young Enterprise Scotland, said: “The Company Programme is based upon the belief that learning is best achieved through the act of doing. Pupils are not only faced with having to build something from scratch, they have to adapt to working in groups and deal with the same issues faced by any real, functioning business. Our research shows that 95% of those who take part feel they have improved at least one employability skill, whether its self-esteem, problem solving or resilience.
“I am hugely grateful to UKSE for its contribution, which will see us secure a presence in more than 200 schools this year, ensuring that thousands of young people from across Scotland receive the training and support needed to take part.”
Anne Clyde, regional manager at UK Steel Enterprise, said: “It is absolutely crucial that we invest in Scotland’s young people, providing them with the skills needed to help them forge their own success. The Company Programme not only understands this need; it puts in place a practical system which helps pupils gain valuable experience not readily available in the classroom.”