Entrepreneur and Dragons? Den favourite Peter Jones has argued that more must be done to encourage entrepreneurial opportunities for young people in the UK.
Following the news that GCSE results released to youngsters across Britain on 25 August have revealed a significant decline in pupils obtaining higher pass grades, Jones said: It is more important than ever that we inspire young people to continue to follow their dreams as they look to the future.
The investorcalled on the nation to open our children’s eyes to the way they can take control of their own destiny by starting a business.
He encouraged newly-appointed education secretary Justine Greening to put the fall in GCSE grades the lowest since 2008 high on her agenda, emphasising a sharp decline in passing grades in core subjects such as Maths and English.
more than ever, our country needs a British dream, and enterprise education will be at the heart of shaping that dream, Jones added.
By encouraging young people to think entrepreneurially, to seize opportunities and learn the basics of business, we give them the confidence to succeed and inspire them to be the best they can be.
Through his foundation, Jones has recently announced the launch of the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy, which has been set up with a mission to create opportunities for young people to realise their entrepreneurial potential offering BTEC qualifications and apprenticeships in partnership with over 100 leading UK businesses.
Arguing that this year’s GCSE results demonstrate the need for viable alternative career paths for young people, Jones hopes his academy will challenge existing attitudes to entrepreneurship and enterprise education.
The government has stepped up its attempts to remind school leavers of the benefits of apprenticeships in recent years, with 59, 500 more apprenticeships offered in 2015 than in 2014. That figure set to increase even more by 2017, when the government’s planned apprenticeship levy is introduced.
Small business owners offering apprenticeship schemes will likely consider this year’s underwhelming GCSE results as a good opportunity to hire talented young people.
Research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) recently found that some 79 per cent of member-firms would hire an apprentice.
One sector likely to be looking to fill apprenticeship positions in the next few months is manufacturing an area of the UK economy suffering from skills shortages.
According to head of employment and skills policy at the manufacturers? association EEF, Tim Thomas, the government has done little to address the lack of talented workers that companies can choose from.
In light of GCSE results day, Thomas expressed a concern that a decline in passes in core subjects represented a danger that smaller manufacturing firms would be unable to recruit a future workforce.
having GCSE Maths is a key measure of achievement for manufacturers, many of whom will have little hope of filling places for high quality apprenticeships unless the English education system can do better, said Thomas.
manufacturers already facing an uphill battle to find the next generation of skilled workers. Government, alongside employers, must quickly address this.