Developing enterprise skills
A NFTE-UK case study

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Page 1: Introduction

In a world in which young people follow the National Curriculum and then prepare for examinations, it is easy to ignore some of the very special creative skills that they have. Sometimes these skills simply need unlocking. For them to be released there needs to be a purpose. This is something that gives young people the need to achieve as well as think and behave in a different way. One way of doing this is to bring 'enterprise' into the classroom.

Enterprise in education

There has been a lot of focus on enterprise in education in recent years. According to the Howard Davies Review (2002), enterprise capability is concerned with: ´the ability to handle uncertainty and respond positively to change, to create and implement new ideas and new ways of doing things, to make reasonable risk/reward assessments and act upon them in a variety of contexts, both personal and work´. Howard Davies emphasised that enterprise in schools involves creating a different learning environment where students take responsibility for their actions. This could involve an element of risk in order to solve problems. The Review also emphasised that learning about enterprise should involve a work-based context. This context is not a simulation. It is not pretend. It is real and provides students with knowledge and understanding and a valuable experience.

As students develop their enterprise skills they develop the opportunity to become an entrepreneur. This is somebody who uses their initiative and takes risks in order to develop a return. According to David Kirby at the University of Surrey: ´Entrepreneurship is a way of thinking and behaving. It is about seeing opportunities and bringing them to fruition and in the process bringing about change.´

How entrepreneurship came about

This case study is probably very different to any other case study. On the one hand, it looks at the work of The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) in schools. On the other hand, it focuses the link between NFTE and a range of small businesses set up by students within one school, Norbury Manor Business & Enterprise College for Girls, in Croydon. In doing so, this case study looks at areas of business that need to be understood before starting up a small enterprise.

The idea for NFTE came from Steve Mariotti when he changed career to become a teacher in the Bronx in New York in 1982. He recognised that young people were business-minded. He learned how to motivate students in challenging situations by teaching them how to run their own businesses. He discovered that entrepreneurship can engage young people. Steve Mariotti set up NFTE as a 'not for profit organisation' in 1986 and since that time it has reached over 150,000 young people worldwide.

NFTE came to the UK in 2000 with a mission to teach entrepreneurship to young people from disadvantaged communities to enhance their economic productivity by improving their business, academic and life skills. Its programmes are run in many schools within the UK. NFTE programmes also link with the Edexcel BTEC Intermediate qualification 'Preparing for Enterprise'. This non-exam based qualification ensures that students not only gain work-related experience, they also achieve a valuable award.

NFTE-UK | Developing enterprise skills