VET in 3D project: A report from the Enterpreneurship Subgroup Meeting
The subgroup working on Entrepreneurship has been working in the past 3 weeks on the emerging priorities for this topic. They met online on May 4th to finalize their work: the selected priorities have been analysed, described, and a preliminary set of best practices have been identified to better clarify them.
The Entrepreneurship dimension of the VET-3D project includes 2 main priorities:
- Entrepreneurial skills & curricula, aiming at answering the question: “What do learners have to learn to become entrepreneurial?”
- VET tools for Entrepreneurship, focusing on tools and methods concerning “How do learners learn best entrepreneurship?”
Entrepreneurial skills are recognised as paramount by business (WEF, 2020; JRC, 2019); different approaches (entrepreneurial mindset, as well as training to create enterprise) are already active (UNEVOC, 2020). This first priority focuses on identifying, in the VET centres experience, which are the main skills behind an entrepreneurial curriculum. Furthermore, it is relevant how the curriculum includes those skills, as well as other activities developed beyond the strict borders of the regular curriculum (competitions, incubators…). Finally, assessment and recognition of these skills can differ from one VET centre to another. Best practices and benchmarks can contribute to improve each VET centre experience. On this priority, it was clear to partners 2 main areas of analysis:
- Entrepreneurial skills related to the economics and management skills (strictu senso): the example of the ICEO (Incubator for ExtraOrdinary Creators), developed by SEPR in late 2019 has been highlighted. People who sign up at ICEO have access to our 46Ksqm-campus, with 40 technical workshops, to design their prototypes and build their project. Part of the incubator’s training is in group, and is composed of 14 modules (1 per week) covering all the steps to start a business: kick-off, sales, budget, management, funding. These group modules are taught by partners from the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Incubatees also have 8 hours of individual appointments, with experts from their trade and from the entrepreneurial world. Finally, they can choose a mentor (usually a business owner that can provide moral support) and benefit from daily advice from ICEO’s coordinator.
- Entrepreneurial skills as soft skills and mindset (latu senso): among the others, the “Think Twice” program by p-consulting.gr or specific programs developed by Kautech, SEPR, INETE focus on soft skills as essential conditions to develop an entrepreneurial mindset in learners. Cometa Tutors are an original example of support to learners on this very task.
Promoting Entrepreneurial learning can concern inclusion of specific skills in VET curricula, but in some cases it is based on innovative pedagogies and rethinking of learning activity. Beside several examples of work-based learning (apprenticeships, internships), several VET centres have developed their approach to entrepreneurship inspired by experiential learning. Although different practices have been promoted, with different labels, this second priority includes 3 main areas of activities:
- School-Enterprise models: Enterprises, active in the VET centre premises or organisationally related to them, play the role of learning enterprise, contributing to learners’ personal and professional development. Due to several limitations to this approach in many countries, this priority aims at identifying the best practices and promoting them for advocacy purposes. Cometa and INETE are interesting practices.
- Junior companies, as developed in the Kautech and INETE VET centres, often in collaboration with organisation such as Junior Achievement, are a method to support learners’ entrepreneurial skills development. Students create educational companies, distribute positions among themselves and have to think about an innovative product or service, with a social and or environmental character. Despite being a school program, students learn how a company works. This initiative is a competition, which also stimulates competitiveness.
- Business Simulations: young people are involved in a training where, under the supervision of trainers and experts, they simulate the management of a real company. In the SEPR practice, learners are brought together around a start-up, a small business with 4 departments: Human Resources, Sales, Communication, Reception & project management. In an open-plan office, each department works towards a common goal: find and share information about companies that propose apprenticeship contracts or short internships.
This first meeting has been very important not only to finalise the selection of priorities and first good practices. It let the members to share their views on this challenge, but also to identify potential contributions (analysis, case studies, best practices) outside the consortium, in order to consolidate the group and the future Thematic Team on Entrepreneurial Learning.