Andeep Mangal: Young must learn enterprise
Business and education are now more closely linked following the merger of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) with the Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS), creating a new Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (D’BIS, I assume, or ‘The Biz’).
The key role of this department will be to build Britain’s resources of skills, knowledge and creativity.
It seems a shame that the word “Enterprise” appears to have been lost somewhere – having only been introduced into the title of a governmental department just two years ago, following the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) metamorphosis into BERR.
And strange that it should happen at a time when enterprise is starting to get a wider appeal to the younger generation. Television and media have played a big role in making business seem exciting. Just like they turned chefs and footballer’s wives into celebrities, they have done the same for entrepreneurs. Extensive coverage given to programmes like The Secret Millionaire, Dragons Den and The Apprentice has unearthed positive role models.
The best example of this is Alan Sugar. The most discussed element of last week’s announcement that Sr’Alan was to be elevated to a peerage, and parachuted onto the cabinet, was that this might result in him being fired by the BBC for a possible conflict of interest!
However, long before this departmental marriage of business and education, and of television shows that brought entrepreneurs into our living rooms, was the Young Enterprise initiative.
This charitable organisation has been taking its tried and tested programme into schools for some time, equipping students with the skills and attributes that employers are looking for.
Students get a taste for business with a “hands on” go at running a real company, and gaining experience of key functions such as marketing, financial management and sales. Then there is the fact that the students get to work with a business advisor, who mentors them through the whole process.
With unemployment continuing to rise, employers may look for candidates with practical experience.
By gaining the adaptable skills and expertise needed, our employees of the future can make themselves stand out.
So in support of Young Enterprise, this evening, in one of my final duties as President of the Birmingham and West Midlands Society of Chartered Accountants, I am attending their regional finals, and will have the pleasure of presenting the Business Advisor of the Year award, a category which we have judged, and which the ICAEW sponsors.
* Andeep Mangel is West Midlands President of the ICAEW.