Students in Kent have become the first graduates of a project aiming to teach children vital business skills. Is this the right preparation for a brave new world of uncertain prospects?
St Columba’s Catholic Boys’ School in Bexleyheath was the first to sign up to the ‘Kids MBA’ classes, which offer them ‘a taster of the mindset, business skills and know-how that they will need to start a company or become self-employed’.
The intensive course for 12-15 year olds has been designed by a team of academics, professionals and business people to provide business education that is not on the UK school curriculum. It covers topics such as business plans, bookkeeping, marketing and customer care.
I’m sure you’ll agree our world is changing fast, and the next generation will need to be savvy to excel. But can children comprehend the intricacies of enterprise at such an early stage?
There is evidence that it is indeed possible. Whizzkid Henry Patterson (pictured above) wrote the Adventures of Sherb and Pip when he was ten years old, and decided to launch his company, ‘Not Before Tea’, soon after. Now, he is turning over close to six figures in his sleep. And of course, there are all the prodigies, discovered by Alan Sugar in the Junior Apprentice!
So if children can cope in this day and age, we need to prepare them for the future. This is backed up by research from the British Chambers of Commerce, which found that a lack of focus in schools on the skills needed was one of the reasons businesses believed school leavers weren’t prepared for work.
Kids MBA was founded by Mark Watson-Gandy, an insolvency lawyer and visiting professor at the University of Westminster. He says he wants to give young people the skills – the ‘unsexy’ skills – they need to understand the principles of business and what they can achieve. He contends that business knowledge is now the source of young people’s economic independence.
Entrepreneurs seem to be getting younger, and in ten years’ time, our entrepreneurial visionaries may be drawing on business skills learnt as a child. Or maybe you, as a failed business owner in an ageing population who couldn’t compete with the emerging minds three generations below, will be reporting to an eight-year-old. Prepare yourself!
Picture from Mirror