Two – no doubt of many – recent examples of the business world helping young people to develop valuable life skills include:
- Ben Turner, National Sales Manager for the Institute of Sales & Marketing Management (ISMM), is helping unemployed young people in Bedfordshire improve their chances of getting jobs in sales and marketing. Ben is a guest speaker on a programme organised by Eureka Youth, a social enterprise company specialising in delivering tailor made training courses – for primary and secondary schools along with councils – in financial literacy, enterprise capability and entrepreneurship education.
Eureka’s programmes teach practical skills in managing money and preparing young people for jobs. In addition they raise students’ self esteem, confidence, problem-solving ability, motivation and communication skills through challenging games and activities, teamwork and goal setting. In mid-March, in conjunction with local youth workers, Eureka is running a programme in Houghton Regis, in Bedfordshire, for unemployed young people who are studying for level 1 qualifications.
Eureka aims to nurture the next generation, and bring real commercial expertise and business experience into the classroom, the holiday club and youth centres – making this part of young people’s everyday experience. Ben Turner said: “Over the years, the worlds of education and businesses seem to have drifted apart and, now, there’s a view in the world of work – particularly among employers – that the education system is not producing young people who are work-ready. So the ISMM, which promotes sales excellence across UK businesses, is delighted to be able to help in this Eureka programme to enable young people to develop key, real world skills to ensure their future economic well being.”
- The Italian Ministry of Education has become the second European government department – following France’s Education Ministry – to get goFLUENT, the European leader in distance English training, to provide English language learning for schoolchildren. This latest pilot programme, begun in November last year and organised by goFLUENT, links children at Rome’s Piva Caesar Middle School – via videoconferencing technology – with English native speakers who are English language teachers based in the USA.
Using only an internet connection, a computer with a sound system, a webcam and a video projector, 22 children participated in this innovative learning process which complements traditional English teaching methods. Every child took part in ten of these web-delivered lessons, each of which lasted for 30 minutes.
The pilot project marks the second time that goFLUENT has worked with a national government to teach English to its children. Since 2008, in conjunction with France’s Education Ministry, goFLUENT has made its brand of English language training available to children in the le Havre area of France. This project involves 1,000 schools, of which 40 – in Périgueux – took part in a pilot programme in 2008. Then, in 2009, the training was extended to children in Rosny-sous-Bois and, subsequently, to children aged nine to 12 in the city of le Havre and the surrounding area.
Christophe Ferrandou, goFLUENT’s CEO, explained: “Using videoconferencing technology is an ideal way to introduce students – not just in Italy and France but all over the world – to native English speakers without the need to disrupt anyone’s life by a lot of travelling, thus avoiding the costs and the adverse effects on the environment that such travel brings. Moreover, using this technology to deliver the learning gets around the difficulty of finding native English speakers in the students’ locality.”
For further details of this project visit:
Comment: It’s always easier to curse the darkness than light a candle, as the old saying goes. So it’s easier to criticise the business world for only being interested in what it can take from education rather than what it can give by way of knowledge and skills to help prepare young people for their future careers.
However, here are two commendable examples of organisations – the ISMM and goFLUENT – using their expertise to help young people in this way. The world of business may not be ‘all heart’ but it’s not ‘all bad’ either.