The other day, I met with the man I wanted to contract as my Social Media Community Manager (I shall call him John). John had been referred to me by a successful businessman, and I was expecting him to be in his late twenties. So I was in shock when I first saw him: he turned out to be only seventeen years old. During our meeting I couldn’t stop thinking how inspiring and reassuring the journey of that young man has been.
We all know there is an unemployment problem. There aren’t a lot of jobs out there, especially for young people. In terms of fulfilment, I am wondering: are young people better off competing to become employees or to forging their own career ? Should they set up their own companies and do their own thing?
Entrepreneurship used to be the realm of rare beings like Richard Branson, who always seemed destined for greatness. Then, someone realised that entrepreneurship was not just in-born, but could actually be taught.
In European education systems, Lithuania explicitly started teaching Entrepreneurship as far back as 2003. Wales and Norway followed closely behind, as did the Netherlands and Finland, and other countries from 2007-9. In England, Enterprise Education is taught as part of Personal, Social and Health and Economic Education in most schools. But when you consider that PSHE lessons may be taught for an hour a week, and have to cover a huge range of topics, enterprise is still only a tiny part of most children’s education.
John dropped out of A levels because he had found something he was very good at. He couldn’t see the point in going to University for three years, accruing debts and struggling to get a job, when he could do what he loved – and be paid for it – right now. It took him some time to be taken seriously, but he went out of his way to prove himself. He approached a number of established companies, and said, “Look. Try me out for three months. I will do some work for you for free. Then you’ll see what I am worth.”
As he had hoped, an excellent company gave him a chance and offered him a job. John can’t understand why young people complain that they can’t get work. “There is always work if you’re good at something,” he says, in a way that does not sound arrogant. John can be proud of his success, because he is solely accountable for embracing his talent and his passion and getting paid to do what he is good at: what he loves.
Is John is an exception? Are young entrepreneurs the future?
Founder, Arthur Coaching
Arthur trains individuals to become professional Young People Coaches. Our mission is to facilitate access to quality leadership coaching for young people.