Career choices and your teen
Helping your teenager decide which career path to take can be stressful. There are so many options and there's no doubt that young people face some tough decisions. But, as a parent, what would you do if your son or daughter decided they wanted to start their own business? How would you support and encourage them to pursue their dreams?
Your natural inclination might be to discourage, what you might believe to be, unrealistic expectations. After all, running a successful business requires years of experience - doesn't it?
The reality is that young people, with the right training and support, can develop the skills to become successful entrepreneurs. It's why leading British entrepreneur and Britain's favourite TV Dragon Peter Jones established the National Enterprise Academy (NEA) - where young people aged 16 to19 can develop the skills and mindset to succeed in the business world.
Training the next generation of entrepreneurs
Based in Buckinghamshire, Manchester and also now enrolling for the new Sheffield campus opening in September 2010, the NEA offers young people the opportunity to achieve new and unique qualifications in enterprise and entrepreneurship at Level 2 (equivalent to four GCSEs) and Level 3 (equivalent to two A levels).
The NEA, philosophy is simple: entrepreneurs are not born, they are made. And what's more, we've got the results to prove it. In January 2008, we recruited 28 students to join the NEA pilot course. After months of innovation, inspiration and all-round entrepreneurial excellence, the results were fantastic. Several of the students who graduated immediately established their own businesses, others quickly found roles in existing successful organisations. Furthermore, a significant number got so much out of the course they wanted more – almost half chose to stay on for another year at the NEA.
What's the key to the NEA success?
Quite simply, at the NEA, we've pioneered a new approach to teaching enterprise and entrepreneurship, focused on "learning by doing":
The NEA provides students with:
Learning from the best
Since the NEA started, we've worked with some fantastic entrepreneurs who have acted as coaches and mentors to our students. Levi Roots, creator of Reggae Reggae sauce, Mike Southon, author of the Beermat Entrepreneur and Connor Woodman from Channel 4's Around the World in 80 Trades are just a few of the entrepreneurs who have already demonstrated their support of the Academy by conducting masterclasses for the students.
The NEA courses cover the full spectrum of business skills. But more than this, because the NEA courses are developed and delivered by real business professionals and entrepreneurs, our students develop skills that employers really value. And crucially, that helps give our students an edge in an extremely competitive job market.
Young people who graduate from the NEA not only benefit from having achieved a formal qualification, but they will also leave with wealth of valuable real-life work experience. As the NEA founder Peter Jones says, "the NEA provides young people with a unique opportunity to stand out from the crowd and develop the skills to start their own business or thrive in an existing business. It's an experience that few other 16 to 19 year olds will ever have."
Enrolment for the September courses at NEA is now open. Those interested in taking part should be aged 16 to 19 on 1 September 2010 and can apply online at www.thenea.org