ESP Advisory Council to boost development and recognition of entrepreneurial skill-sets among young people

JA Europe and the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (WKO) has just announced in a press release the establishment of the ESP Advisory Council in support of the Entrepreneurial Skills Pass, a unique international qualification in entrepreneurial skills, knowledge and competences for 15-19 year olds. EPA has been invited to participate at the Advisory Council.

In line with the upcoming New Skills Agenda for Europe, the ESP Advisory Council is committed to boost recognition of the competences and skills young people acquire through initiatives like the Entrepreneurial Skills Pass and promote greater uptake of entrepreneurship education at schools across Europe.

[Brussels, 6 June 2016] The Entrepreneurial Skills Pass (ESP) qualification, which includes a full year mini-company experience, is already available in 22 countries. JA Europe and WKO are setting up the ESP Advisory Council to continue to raise awareness about the importance of developing and assessing young people’s entrepreneurial competences before they leave compulsory education.
Members of the ESP Advisory Council come from a broad range of sectors and were selected based on the stakeholders they represent. The members are:

  • CSR Europe - Stefan Crets, Executive Director
  • ibw Austria - Thomas Mayr, Member of the European Qualification Framework Advisory Group (representing UEAPME)
  • EUROCHAMBRES – Arnaldo Abruzzini, Chief Executive Officer
  • European Commission, DG Employment Social Affairs and Inclusion - Ann Branch, Head of Unit “Job Creation”
  • European Commission, DG Education and Culture - Denis Crowley, Head of Unit - Innovation in Education EIT and MSCA
  • European Parents Association - Eszter Salamon, President
  • European Training Foundation - Madlen Serban, Director
  • UNESCO - Shyamal Majumdar, Head of the UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre For Technical and Vocational Education and Training
Studies (such as Entrepreneurship Education: A road to success, European Commission, 2015) show how entrepreneurship education has positive immediate effects on school culture, on students’ motivation and on school engagement, but is also a strong driver of entrepreneurial and employment potential later on. Past participants of JA’s mini-company program start 50% more companies than non-participants. Students in such schemes, where there are multiple interactions with the employer community, are 5 times less likely to be NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training) and earn 16% more than non-participants (It’s who you meet: why employer contacts at school make a difference to the employment prospects of young adults, Anthony Mann, 2015).

The Entrepreneurial Skills Pass represents an important reference for those keen on ensuring that education and training play a greater role in promoting employability and competitiveness. Getting entrepreneurship competencies embedded into national qualification frameworks and the implications for curriculum, assessment and the teaching and learning dynamic is the next challenge. The Advisory Council will seek appropriate accreditation for the ESP at national and European level as well as make policy recommendations.

See below excerpts from the ESP Advisory Council member statements of endorsement:

Madlen Serban, Director, European Training Foundation
“The recognition of entrepreneurial experience through the Entrepreneurial Skills Pass (ESP) is an important reference for national education systems as they accommodate the EU recommendations for better promotion of entrepreneurship through education and training. Getting entrepreneurship competencies embedded into qualification frameworks and the implications for curriculum, assessment and the teaching and learning dynamic, is the next challenge”.

Eszter Salamon, President, European Parents Association
“Active, engaged parents are aware that certain key competences, that are not built during traditional formal education, are more important for future success, than others that are emphasised in schools today. Entrepreneurial skills, not only in the sense of establishing their own enterprise, but to take initiative in general, are the most difficult to develop in a traditional school context, so Entrepreneurial Skills Pass is a perfect tool to support this in nontraditional setting, but still within formal education…”

Thomas Mayr, ibw Austria, Member of the European Qualification Framework Advisory Group (representing UEAPME)
“…different findings show that participation in practical entrepreneurial learning at school is low and that more needs to be done to develop the entrepreneurial skills of young people. The Entrepreneurial Skills Pass aims at filling this gap. It offers teachers the opportunity to facilitate an active learning experience through well designed and ready to use learning materials in combination with a real entrepreneurial activity by students in a minicompany…”

Stefan Crets, Executive Director, CSR Europe
“What can better prepare young professionals for the job market than a test of their abilities in a safe environment, supported by trained educators and experienced business volunteers?... We recognise that the ESP offers a unique opportunity for young people to gain the skills and expertise necessary to excel in today's job market, while providing businesses with the skilled and driven professionals that they need…”

Arnaldo Abruzzini, Chief Executive Officer, EUROCHAMBRES
“…the ESP equips young people to enter the job market and/or start their own business… Achieving Europe's ambitions requires education to also focus on developing transversal skills and entrepreneurial mind-sets. It also necessitates that education, business and policy-makers collaborate more”.

About the Entrepreneurial Skills Pass (ESP)
A unique international qualification to give students access to further opportunities and facilitate their transition from education to entrepreneurship or employment. Developed with support from the European Commission, the ESP grew very fast from a collaboration between the Austrian Chamber of Commerce (WKO) and the JA network to a bigger consortium, which includes the Danish Foundation for Entrepreneurship, CSR Europe and a relevant number of international organisations and companies. The Entrepreneurial Skills Pass runs in 22 countries* and certifies students (aged 15-19) have had a practical entrepreneurship experience through the JA Company Program and have gained the necessary knowledge, skills and competences to start a business or be successfully employed. Students involved in the ESP learn to turn ideas into action, develop their entrepreneurial and financial competences, meet and interact with experienced people from the business sector. ESP requires the completion of a mini-company experience (one school year), a self-assessment tool (pre/post-test) and an online test of business, economic and financial knowledge and skills. Giving students a standardized form of recognition of their entrepreneurial skills and competences provides them with a competitive advantage upon entering the job market.
For more information, visit http://entrepreneurialskillspass.eu

About JA Europe
JA Europe is Europe’s largest provider of education programmes for entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy, reaching 3.5 million students in 39 countries in 2015. JA works with the education and business communities as well as governments to provide young people from primary school to university with experiences that build the skills and competences they will need to succeed in a global economy. JA Europe is the European Regional Operating Centre for JA Worldwide

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