YouthProAktiv, Entrepreneurship Education & Switch on Europe!

It was with a lot on interest that the YouthProAktiv team attended the ‘Swith on Europe’ round table held at the European Parliament on may 4th. Organised by JA Europe and the European Entrepreneurship Education NETwork, the event emphasized the importance for EU members to implement Entrepreneurship Education (EE) programs for young people. A vision also shared and promoted by YouthProAktiv members.

Modarated by Caroline Jenner, CEO of JA Europe, the round table allowed participants, amongst those Silvia Boschetti, Head of Communication and Public affairs, Citi Italy & EE-Hub Expert, Claudia Fusco, Head of Unit, Environmental knowledge, Eco-innovation & SMEs, DG-Environment at the European Commission, Michaela Sojdrova, MEP and Vladimir Urutchev, MEP, to share good practices on how to increase the number of youngsters having access to Entrepreneurship education programs.

This main objective is facing multiple challenges, as shown by the following numbers presented by Ms. Jenner :

  • Out of 38 education systems, only 11 have a specific strategy for EE;
  • Less than a quarter of students have participated in an EE activity at school;
  • 75% of teachers reported not being rewarded for being innovative.

Although there is still much to be done to empower youth by provinding them with entrepreneurial skills, concrete initiatives are being implemented in different countries, as clearly presented by Ms. Sojdrova and Mr. Urutchev.

The positive impacts of such programs as EE are important for the young generation and for EU’s economy. Across Europe, 4 in 10 companies are having difficulties finding skilled staff. If we take into account that above 20% of the youth people are unemployed in Europe, we quickly realize changes need to be brought and education is one of the first sector concerned.

EE programs are providing an important set of hard and soft skills to students, at all levels. It also gives them a very good and concrete idea of workplaces. According to the European Entrepreneurship Education NETwork, studies have showed that students who have had an entrepreneurial experience at school are 50% more likely to start their own business. Needless to insist on how EE programs can be a major strategy on the fight against youth unemployment and for economic growth in EU member states.

All the participants agreed that one of the main key to succeeding in reaching the ambitious 25% penetration rate objective fixed by the organizers of the event, is to create more synergies between the different stakeholders involved, including the business sector. Ms. Boshetti stressed that that the business community was key, since it was one of the main door into the ecosystem.

In order to build these new synergies and to avoid overlapping efforts from the multiple actors, The European Entrepreneurship Education Network drafted a policy recommendations paper. Presented in 4 sections (European institutions and bodies/ Governments/Education Institutions/ Business community), the recommendations are inspired by more than 60 good practices that are exposed on the website.

The event was part of the ‘Switch on Europe’ campaign, which was launched to raise awareness on the importance to implement EE programs at all levels of the educations systems across Europe, an objective widely shared by YouthProAktiv.