Will the Cabinet Secretary outline how her department encourages business and entrepreneurship in the school curriculum, particularly in further education?
Through the Economic Action Plan, the Welsh Government is committed to developing an entrepreneurial culture in Wales; this provides a particular focus on developing youth entrepreneurship, working with young people under 25 in schools, colleges and universities.
Developing learners’ knowledge of business and entrepreneurship skills is integral to Careers and the World of Work (CWW), which forms part of the curriculum for all learners, aged 11 to 16 at maintained schools, and is part of the Learning Entitlement for learners up to the age of 19. The CWW Framework promotes careers education and develops learners’ awareness of how their studies contribute to their readiness for employment.
Our Welsh Baccalaureate also allows learners to consolidate and develop essential and employability skills. The Welsh Baccalaureate is a composite qualification which is based on a Skills Challenge Certificate, alongside supporting qualifications. As part of the Skills Challenge Certificate, learners are required to complete an Enterprise and Employability Challenge, which helps them to develop skills in Digital Literacy, Creativity and Innovation, and Personal Effectiveness and apply these skills in an appropriate manner to enhance employability opportunities.
Careers Wales is also supporting employer engagement in schools through the Education Business Exchange (EBE). The EBE is a facilitated database which gives schools the ability to develop employer-supported, curriculum-enhancing programmes for their learners. EBE provides support for young people to develop their careers via a range of activities, including tailored work placements, industry visits and master-classes. Currently, there are over 13,000 employers registered on the Exchange.
We also continue to support the Business Class employer engagement project which has already established more than 80 partnerships between secondary schools and employers. This programme aims to improve young people’s understanding of the world of work, their awareness of career choices, and the development of their employability skills.
There are also a range of other measures to support youth entrepreneurship.
Big Ideas Wales recruits entrepreneurs to become role models to inspire students, raise confidence and help them learn about business. In 2017-18, the role models delivered workshops to 36,753 pupils in 89 per cent of the schools in Wales, and 12,970 students in Further Education. This work complements curriculum areas such as the Welsh Baccalaureate, as well as vocational learning in Further Education.
The ‘Enterprise Troopers’ primary school competition nurtures the spirit of entrepreneurship and encourages business to support schools. The competition celebrates the development of entrepreneurial skills through the curriculum and helps younger learners apply literacy and numeracy skills in a real-life context.
The Youth Entrepreneurship programme also enables the Further and Higher Education sectors to drive the entrepreneurship agenda and broker partner activity. ‘Entrepreneurship Champions’ are funded in all colleges and universities in Wales to develop understanding of business and entrepreneurship, provide practical experiences for students and support potential young entrepreneurs to start a business.
Finally, in August, the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Transport agreed a three-year (January 2019 to December 2021) programme of grant funding to stimulate and deliver youth entrepreneurship outcomes and accelerate entrepreneurship within the Further and Higher Education sectors in Wales.