The Entrepreneurial Skills Pass

Yes, we are convinced that you can teach entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial mindset. Entrepreneurship is all about attitudes, skills and competences. - says Friederike Sözen in her guest article about ESP.

Entrepreneurship Education (EE) is about learners developing the skills and mindset to be able to turn creative ideas into entrepreneurial action. This is a key competence for all learners, supporting personal development, active citizenship, social inclusion and employability. EE is relevant across the lifelong learning process, in all disciplines of learning and to all forms of education and training (formal, non-formal and informal) which contribute to an entrepreneurial spirit or behaviour. At European level, EE is defined within the 2006 key competence framework:

„A sense of initiative and entrepreneurship refers to an individual’s ability to turn ideas into action. It includes creativity, innovation and risk-taking, as well as the ability to plan and manage projects in order to achieve objectives.“*

 It can therefore be appreciated that EE  supports individuals, not only in their everyday lives at home and in society, but also in the workplace. For employers and employers it is surely desirable that employees understand the context of their work, are able to seize opportunities,  as  a foundation for the more specific skills and knowledge needed by those establishing or contributing to social or commercial activity?It is also important that our citizens  have an awareness of ethical values necessary to promote good governance.The Entrepreneurial Skills Pass is a joint initiative of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (WKO) and Junior Achievement Young Enterprise Europe. The project, working with nine partner countries aims to bridge the perennial gap between classroom and practical experience.

The initiative is expressly designed to consolidate the unique strengths of both partner organisations.
WKO has extensive experience of work with employers and education with an integrated and coherent programme, on what it takes it takes to be an entrepreneur. JA-YE for its part, provides the mini-company programme, where students set up a real company, take part in trade fairs and regional and national competitions. An exciting dimension of the project is the development of an online assessment is reflecting the impact of the entrepreneurial experience on their attitudes regarding entrepreneurship, self-employment and active citizenship.It is hoped that the use of the online assessment will serve to afford an invaluable basis for continuous improvement aligned with the EU approach to  Evidence Based Policy Formation.

A high level launch event for  the ESP in Brussels was held in Brussels on March 4th. An indication of how seriously policy makers view developments in Entrepreneurial Learning can be gauged by the attendees at the  launch  where organisations as diverse as members of European Parliament, Eurochambres, DG Growth, OECD, VISA, Accenture, Microsoft, CSR Europe and Digital Single Market EU Commission  were all in attendance. The  unique mix of multilevel stakeholders from global companies to local players, European Commission to national chambers, education initiatives  and committed sponsors was an implicit  acknowledgement of  this  promising approach to raise employability and an entrepreneurial mindset for Europe's youth.

Friederike Soezen
Department of Educational Policy
Austrian Federal Economic Chamber

*This is based on a framework definition agreed by an international working group on entrepreneurial learning in Geneva on 18 January 2012. The working group comprised representatives from ETF, GIZ, ILO, UNESCO and UNEVOC.

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