Case Study December 2022

Voices: Young Enterprise Scotland

In our Voices series, we share the stories and opinions from our funded organisations that are helping to find solutions to poverty and trauma in Scotland. The latest group is Young Enterprise Scotland, an East Renfrewshire based charity that supports young people aged 5-25 years to develop business knowledge, entrepreneurial skills and financial literacy through accredited training and practical experience across Scotland.

  • What is your organisation working to achieve?

Young Enterprise Scotland works to support young people from all backgrounds to develop their business knowledge, entrepreneurial skills and financial literacy. Our ‘learning by doing' approach and accredited training programmes, help young people to become more employable and job ready - no matter where they start their journey or what challenges they face along the way.

Part of the Junior Achievement Worldwide network, which is currently nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, Young Enterprise Scotland is run by a small, passionate staff team with support from hundreds of dedicated volunteers from the business community across Scotland.

We deliver our work in schools, colleges and at our wonderful Training Centre in Rouken Glen Park, Glasgow.

  • Where are you focusing your support right now?

The current challenges being faced by young people in Scotland are unprecedented. The Covid-19 pandemic has caused severe disruption to education and now the cost of living and climate crises are creating unparalleled uncertainty for young people about their futures. It has never been more important for young people to manage their money well and to have experiences which provide the skills, competencies and mindset needed to succeed.

Young Enterprise Scotland is listening to young people and to educators and delivering activities and programmes which increase young people’s entrepreneurial abilities and work-readiness by developing their transferable skills and personal strengths.

We now have the ability to deliver all our programmes online if required and we can also offer young people the opportunity to gain accredited SCQF Level 6 and Level 3 qualifications through our Company and Team Programmes. This means that young people’s hard work and entrepreneurial drive are even more easily recognised by future education providers and employers. It also means that young people who may not normally achieve in traditional exam settings can gain recognised qualifications through their practical enterprise learning.

Our financial education offering has also grown this year following the transfer of assets from the Stewart Ivory Financial Education Trust (SIFET) to Young Enterprise Scotland. With 67% of young people lacking the confidence to plan their financial future, this expansion of our work comes at an important time.

  • How do poverty and trauma figure in your work?

Young Enterprise Scotland's vision is for Scotland to be a place where ALL young people have the opportunity for a rewarding future in work and life. Over the past three years, we have worked tirelessly towards our strategic goal of enabling 'Enterprise for All' to ensure no one, especially young people who face barriers caused by poverty and trauma, are excluded from the proven benefits of enterprise education.

Our award-winning Pathways to Enterprise programme provides access to a highly supportive enterprise experience for young people in Greater Glasgow who are facing several personal and social challenges, most often related to poverty. Pathways is delivered at our Training Centre, situated right at the heart of Rouken Glen Park. It’s a beautiful, inspiring place with lots of outdoor learning space. We also provide free transport and home-cooked meals to ensure there are no barriers to learning. It all makes for a wonderful learning experience, which is crucially, very different to school. We’re proud of Pathways and of the big changes that we see for the young people who take part.

We have just launched ‘Square Go’ at Rouken Glen - a new, highly supportive business start-up hub aimed at the most disadvantaged young people, who may not otherwise think that starting a business is something they can achieve.  This will provide five young entrepreneurs with their own free pod space alongside mentoring and well-being support to give them a ‘Square Go’ at launching their business.

"The Covid-19 pandemic has caused severe disruption to education and now the cost of living and climate crises are creating unparalleled uncertainty for young people about their futures. It has never been more important for young people to manage their money well and to have experiences which provide the skills, competencies and mindset needed to succeed."
  • How can funders support your work?

Like many charities and organisations, we’ve had to overcome a huge period of uncertainty over the last 2 years. The flexible approach and support we received from many funders during this time was essential to help us adapt and grow our services to meet young people’s changing needs.

Funders can continue to support us by providing the much-needed resources which allow us to provide high-quality programmes, to support our hard-working volunteers and to employ staff who share our values of creativity, collaboration, integrity and enthusiasm.

We are also very grateful when funders seek our views and experience and then use their voice to advocate for the sector.

  • What changes would you like to see in your area of focus during the next five years?

As Young Enterprise Scotland celebrates our 30th Anniversary year and the tens of thousands of young people who have launched their careers using the skills and experiences they gained through taking part in our programmes, our ambition is for every school and young person in Scotland to have equal access to enterprise and financial education, which can help them to achieve a positive future.  

  • What long-term system changes would best address the issues?

There seems no doubt that the rapid political, economic, social and technological changes we are currently seeing will continue to constantly transform the employment and business landscape going forward. The only way to prepare young people for this scale of uncertainty is to focus on the development of ‘meta-skills’ – those key, holistic skills which underpin all others, and are more about mindset.

Hopefully, the growing recognition of the importance of meta-skills within the education sector will continue and Young Enterprise Scotland, alongside other partners, can play a very important role in the development of these skills by providing ‘learning by doing' programmes, which encourage young people to make the most of everyday opportunities and barriers. 

Young people at Hampden Park.

How Young Enterprise Scotland's work fits with our 2020-2030 strategy

Through our funds, we are keen to support projects that focus on supporting people with the transition through education and training into work, particularly with a focus on supporting young people. We know that over the past few years, young people have faced severe disruption in their education and training, with opportunities being limited due to the pandemic.

Young Enterprise Scotland aims to improve confidence in young people, by identifying goals and aspirations, with the aim of young people moving onto positive destinations. We are pleased to be long-term supporters of Young Enterprise Scotland and look forward to seeing their progress with their Pathways to Enterprise programme that we are currently supporting.

Gurdeep Kaur

Funding Officer