Young Scot, promoting enterprise

In 2010, independent studies carried out by The Prince’s Trust and the Royal Bank of Scotland revealed that the number of young people out of work had soared to a 12 year high, with approximately 36,200 unemployed young Scots aged between 20 and 24 years.

The shift in our economic climate has meant that there has been an increase in the number of young people opting to extend their time in education, in a bid to delay the search for employment. This strategy has only meant that an even larger group of young people are now leaving school at the same time and are left fighting for jobs in an already competitive market.

With an increasing shortage of opportunities for young people, the national youth information and citizenship charity Young Scot launched a new range of services and entitlements for young people “post-school”, called Young Scot Extra. The launch of Young Scot Extra was a response to recognising the need to develop a new service which would support young people who were about to embark on life in the “real world” amidst an economic downturn.

Young Scot Extra targets those furthest from the job market. It is a specially tailored service which combines online and offline services and support for all young Scots as they move into independent living.  The new digital platform – www.youngscotextra.org – has information on issues ranging from travel and career opportunities, further education and training, tips on managing money, health and relationships, and incorporates audio and video content too.  As work continues into 2011/12, a key focus for Young Scot Extra is to stimulate and support enterprising activities. With more and more young people making the transitions to independent living in such a tough economic environment, Young Scot Extra aims to encourage and support young people to create their own positive destinations.

Young Scot appreciates the value and importance of stimulating entrepreneurial behaviour, and understands that enterprise in education contributes to building the four capacities of learners identified in the Curriculum for Excellence – successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors. The Sunday Mail Young Scot Awards is an evening committed to recognising and celebrating the remarkable achievements of Scotland’s young people, and we have a category dedicated to acknowledging the efforts of those who have demonstrated an entrepreneurial flair.

In 2009, the winner of the Enterprise category was (then) 22 year old fashionista Kirsten Dunnet, who was so fed up with the lack of trendy boutiques in her hometown that she opened her own. Missy La La in Dundee raked in more than £100,000 in its first 10 months of opening, and Kirsten – who acts as buyer, merchandiser, stylist, salesgirl and cleaner – puts her success down to sheer hard work.

She said, “Everyone is surprised at how well the shop is doing in a recession … but I’m not. There was a real gap in the market in Dundee for a trendy store with affordable fashionable clothes. I put my plan to The Prince’s Trust, they gave me a £5,000 loan to get started and I haven’t looked back.”

In 2011, 20 year old Craig Rutherford was awarded for successfully establishing his own business during the depth of the recession. The entry of the young entrepreneur into the plant and operating market in the Ross of Mull has helped underpin the construction and farming sector in the area as well as helping to reduce costs for local businesses and farmers, who otherwise would’ve had to hire contractors from many miles away.

His positive nature has enabled him to win the confidence of customers and he has not only saved money for the local economy, but has also helped to reduce the carbon footprint. Craig is continuing to build his business and is hoping for a greater share of the market in Mull.

Enterprising activities encourage all young people to learn and develop in a way that meets their needs and helps them to develop skills for learning, skills for life and skills for work. It enables young people to learn at an early age the nature of work and social and economic enterprise, as well as understand the roles, rights and responsibilities of individuals as employees, managers, employers, entrepreneurs, investors, customers and global citizens. Information is a powerful tool in supporting and encouraging employability and entrepreneurship. The skills and practical demands of employment and enterprise are explored through a number of Young Scot’s products and services, and opportunities to engage with other organisations and projects which may nurture and provide opportunities are clearly presented to young people.

Presently, Young Scot is working to strengthen its Enterprise chapter by developing the information articles and case studies showcased on our Young Scot Extra website. We have joined forces with The Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust, Young Enterprise Scotland and WildHearts to help ensure we can connect young people to the opportunities that are available. We are committed to building new partnerships with organisations that have a shared ambition of encouraging and supporting enterprising behaviour, and we will be investigating these potential partner opportunities throughout the year.

For more information on how Young Scot can support young enterprising activity, please get in touch with our InfoLine team. Call our free phone service on 0808 801 0338, or email infoline@youngscot.org

1 Comment on Young Scot, promoting enterprise

  1. A wonderful endeavour. Please let me know if there is any way that I can support these efforts.

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