Young people and enterprise

The National Youth Agency has published the final report of its commission into young people and enterprise.

Key points include that:

  • There is a gap between the number of young people who want to start a business and the number who actually do. The appetite is there but making it a reality is the difficult bit;
  • Learning how to be successful means developing a wide range of skills and behaviours including passion, hunger to succeed, leveraging support, empowerment and ownership, building collaborative networks and a supply chain (being a team player), and creating a ‘have a go’ culture where you are allowed to fail and take risks;
  • Enterprise goes against the predictable, linear nature of education. To develop enterprise skills young people need a learning environment in which there is a measure of uncertainty. Subject silos in education can also be a barrier with many innovative ideas come from mixing learning in different subjects and introducing experience from outside school;
  • Local stakeholders, for example Local Enterprise Partnerships, represent an opportunity to tackle key local labour market issues as young people want support from mentors with a range of backgrounds and need opportunities to learn from entrepreneurs who have had recent similar experience to them;
  • Social capital is a vital factor. Many young people may have no problem building connections but need help in understanding how to take advantage of these more effectively, and young people in more marginalised communities often lack connections in the right places, for example in the council or with local businesses or banks; and
  • Youth workers can become powerful advocates and mentors for enterprise, but improvements are needed to youth work training, including schemes that bring youth workers together with entrepreneurs for greater insight into the world of small and start up business.

To download the full report visit