7 Entrepreneurs you should tell young people about. (Note: They will have probably never heard of any of them!)
This week (4 – 10 Nov 2013) is Youth Work Week, which is an annual celebration of youth work driven by the National Youth Agency (NYA).
2013 sees the 20th year of this profile raising event.
This year the theme of Youth Work Week is Building Skills for Employability.
The campaign aims to highlight the role youth work makes in supporting young people’s development and self-confidence to prepare them for seeking jobs and careers.
Why is this important?
In January to March 2013, 958,000 young people aged 16-24 were recorded as being unemployed in the UK. That’s just under 1 Million young people out of work.
I actually believe that number to be higher, when you think about the changes to the way the figures are counted.
For example, the UK government has increased the age to which all young people in England must continue in education or training, requiring them to continue until the end of the academic year in which they turn 17 from 2013 and until their 18th birthday from 2015.
This means that young people who left year 11 in summer 2013 need to continue in education or training until at least the end of the academic year in which they turn 17.
The government state that this does not necessarily mean they have to stay in school, however, they must continue in some form of structured education or training post-16, which could be full-time study at school, college or with a training provider, full-time work or volunteering combined with part-time education or training or an apprenticeship.
What I believe this has done is take those young people out of the cohort that is counted towards the unemployment figures.
If you look at the research, even those young people that have gone to university and received degrees struggle to find employment.
At the end of 2011, only 30% of students on foundation degree courses found a job within six months of graduation. 18.9% of those graduating in the previous two years were unemployed.
Graduates are also having to settle for low-skilled jobs more frequently than used to be the case. In the last quarter of 2011 more than one in three of those graduating in the last six years and finding work were in low-skilled roles.
What is going on?
When I was growing up, the “safe” life plan that was presented to me was as follows;
- Go to school
- Get a good education
- Learn a trade
- Get job, (preferably in the council or at Goodyears, because you’ll have a job for life, and a good pension),
- Save whatever money you can.
Starting a business was seen as being “Risky” and was not encouraged.
Although I do agree that there is a real risk in starting a business, in this current economic climate, there is just as much risk in working for the local authority, or any other former “Job for life” employer.
Whereas, if you’re self employed, or even better, a busines owner (Yes, there is a difference) you are able to manage, reduce and in some cases avoid risks. (e.g. cutting back on overhead, increasing sales efforts on selling etc.)
But what can a full-time employee do other than keep their head down, work hard and hope that the cuts don’t fall their way when the bosses have made their decisions.
I recently saw n an article featured on the Business insider blog entitled “Actually, Starting Your Own Company Is Less Risky Than Working For Someone Else” written by Serial entrepreneur, investor, and best selling author SCOTT D. GERBER.
This statement jumped out at me;
How much longer are we going to pretend that jobs are going to miraculously appear out of thin air? How much longer are we going to disillusion ourselves into believing that globalisation, recession, automation and the over-abundance of educational institutions haven’t forever changed our world?
I also agree with his statement that we should be ” pushing entrepreneurship as a viable alternative for young people to pursue”.
But what about all the Employability skills programmes?
If you ask me, I believe that many of the Employability skills programmes on offer to young people today are a bit flaky and lead many young people to a dead end.
Writing CV’s and applications, developing communication skills and Interview skills is all good and well, however, if there are no jobs for the young people to go into, then whats the point?
OK, I know these skills can be transferable, but why have to transfer them? Why not just equip young people and prepare them for something that they can go straight into and develop and build over time?
The popular perceptions of entrepreneurs.
According to Wikipedia, entrepreneurship is “the quality of being an entrepreneur, i.e. one who “undertakes an enterprise”. The term puts emphasis on the risk and effort of individuals who own and manage a business, and on the innovations that result from their pursuit of economic success”.
It cites some historic examples of entrepreneur’s, such as 18th Century Steam engine innovators James Watt & Thomas Newcomen.
Today, If you ask young people about entrepreneur’s the names that often come up are the likes of Jobs, Gates, Branson, Trump, Sugar, and more recently Zuckerberg.
Depending on your environment you may also hear names such as Sean “P Diddy” Combs, Jay -Z or Michael Jordan.
However, just like in the music industry, there is an underground world of entrepreneurs who are not in the public spot light like these big names, but are making huge wave just below the radar.
These individuals, most of them under 30 years old, are building successful businesses, which pays them a lot more than any job could have offered them and are probably a lot more secure.