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We have a wide range of resources to support, inspire and sustain social enterprise in your classroom.
Our online platform gives you access to digital resources, CPD sessions in your area and a forum to connect with other teachers.
Click the link to sign up to the programme and create a free account, you will then be directed to our Social Enterprise in Schools programme page.
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A Learner Story
The Action of Learning
by Andy Ross
I was never the best behaved of people at school. I was always disruptive when working in groups because I wouldn't listen and could never concentrate. I tried to speak to my teachers and psychiatrists. I even went to the local centre dedicated to kids diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), but I never felt like I was understood.
At first, I just expected this to be another course, but after going to the taster session, I got this feeling that I'd never had before and I instantly knew I was going to learn something from this programme, I just never imagined how much I would learn.
The main thing that helped me was that it was an adult environment that gave the group a safe space to confront any questions or issues.
In the first two sessions, a lot of the group were getting annoyed with me being disruptive and confronted me about it. Because I had made strong relationships with them, I respected them and wanted to act on their concerns. I told them I had ADHD and we all worked together with it – I had never experienced how people could take me and perceive me before.
The tutors also had a lot of patience. Regardless of the type of issue, if you had to get your point across they would let you confront it. That really helped me.
It felt like if there was ever anything wrong, you didn't have to leave it at the door. You could bring it in and work on it together. It really made me value effective communication. That's why I really liked action learning. It made me realise that people handle stuff in different ways and you can benefit from listening and acting on that. I am usually quite impulsive in my thinking; the first thing that comes into my head, I use to solve something or do something. But action learning makes you think outside the box and makes you think of things that may work better.
I wasn't a person who took advice or approached people with a problem, but this was a fun and controlled way of making each person speak and let everyone help you. Now, I'd like to share all my problems with action learning and let everyone help.
It's weird how you become more open-minded from it. With this programme, the benefit can come from such simple things like this - simple things in life that you can do, but you just didn't realise how powerful they can be.
I benefited from learning about leadership and communications, but I also grew in myself. Since being on the programme, the council and job centre that I signed up with, both recommended me for a glazer job, saying that I was the best person they had seen in a long time. I feel confident that I can do the job well because it involves a group of people working together and communication will be critical.
A family support worker for the Scottish Borders Council has also asked me to work together with parents who have kids with ADHD, and help them understand their kids minds a bit better. I feel like I'm a completely different person. I realised that ADHD is a disorder that you have to overcome yourself. No tablets are going to help. By understanding that, I had this mechanism to concentrate less on being disruptive and more on my work. Now I see goals and I see what I need to do to complete it, and I want to do that!
Before, I felt really depressed and was never motivated. But this programme has made me much happier in myself and it makes me feel in control of my own life.
"It wasn't a programme that changed me, it was a programme that made me want to change"
Reach for the Stars
In 2013 and 2014 we were part of the public-private-third sector partnership project which enabled unemployed people to move into and sustain jobs in the tourism and hospitality sector.
How it works
Reach for the Stars is an intensive two-week programme comprising sector specific competencies, awareness of the tourism and hospitality product locally, and key interpersonal skills.
Participants were referred to the programme by their Jobcentreplus advisors. After an initial information day, participants committed to an intensive two week programme, featuring certificated training specific to the tourism sector (including World Host, personal license holder, emergency first aid and manual handling), communication and team work skills and interactive visits to key visitor attractions, to meet and hear from employers.
Reach for the Stars culminates in 'speed dating' style interviews with employers, all of whom have vacancies which they find challenging to fill.
The two-week intensive programme is followed by a four week voluntary week placement with the employer of their choice, on the understanding that if it went well, there was a possibility of paid employment at the end of the programme. The placements were facilitated by the Tourism Excellence Consultancy, a highly respected local business with unrivalled sector contacts.
Reach for the Stars has produced excellent results:
- In the 2013 programme, 13 of the 14 participants moved into employment
- In the 2014 programme, 10 of the 13 participants moved into employment
- Employers have found employees able to maintain their jobs and make a real contribution to their businesses
- Jobcentreplus have seen 23 people, all of whom have been unemployed for at least 3 months and many for much longer, become employment ready and move into work
"We are so dependent on our people to deliver the guest experience and we are delighted to support what we hope will be the first of many in this new venture. This initiative is exactly what the industry needs and demonstrates that there are real opportunities for those who are willing to have a go."
Victoria Erasmus | Owner, Glen Mhor Hotel; Chair Inverness Hotels Association
Finding confidence and discovering ability
Flexibility to adapt to the needs of young people as programmes run is one of the keys to success
Self-Leadership, Scottish Borders
Learners were a diverse group of young people who, on the surface, had little in common. It is fair to say that they often struggled to get along with each other during the programme! However, this gave them 'live' issues to relate their learning to and they used it to their advantage. Possibly the only common theme for them was that a majority of them had in some ways been 'turned off' of formal learning.
Predictably, they enjoyed the activities part of the programme, but what was less expected, was that they really engaged with some of the more theoretical parts. A common 'thirst' for personal development and self-awareness was uncovered.
From exclusion to ambition, through enterprising ideas
Working with local partners to bring together and support young people facing exclusion, each Wide Horizons programme finds learners' own 'starting points', and explores new skills, deep values and personal qualities through social entrepreneurship.
Wide Horizons, North West Highlands
Young people with diverse issues have engaged with this enterprise focused programme. Criminality, unemployment, drug and alcohol misuse have led to many of these young people being written off by their communities.
We use practical activities and challenges, often in the outdoors or using drama. We always visit a social enterprise and get stuck in to the work they do for a day.
One learner was very shy and wouldn't really speak much at first. By the end of the 12 day programme she had gained enough confidence to pitch her social enterprise idea to a panel of prominent people, including Lord Thurso, Member of a Treasury Select Committee at Westminster. She impressed to such an extent that she was awarded a Royal Bank of Scotland grant via the Academy and is now working her way to getting her social enterprise off the ground.
Another young person epitomised the transformation of many participants in his passionate presentation of his recycling social enterprise idea, where "everyone and everything deserves a second chance".
Future leaders, working together
Communication skills and tuning in to emotional intelligence are key ingredients to help young people outside education or employment become ready to play their part in teams.
Effective Team Skills, Aviemore
An intense 3 day residential brought together future sports leaders from across the Highlands and Islands.
Young people reported increased levels of confidence and awareness of how they can personally contribute to any team and work well with others with different learning and leadership styles.
90% of learners completed an ILM level 2 qualification in Effective Team Member Skills.
Help young people to find their strength if they're struggling in-between school and work
There are approximately one million young people in the UK not in employment, education or training. The cost of this lost generation is immense.
We aim to engage with these young people as potential social entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs and leaders.
What kinds of programmes go beyond education?
Creating a safe learning environment, our programmes ensure everyone's contributions are heard, and the group is guided to support one another.
Responding to participants' individual starting points, for each young person their confidence is nurtured and aspirations raised.
Young people are challenged to think about their values, the things that are important to them, the skills and qualities they already have, and those they would like.
Participants become better able to work together, recognise their own strengths and those of others, and are able to form happier and more productive teams.
Hear from Lilli, a learner on the Get on Board programme, which supported young people to learn more about becoming a social enterprise board member.
It has made it a lot easier to think about being a part of a social enterprise in the future
There are four programme strands providing support to young people
- Wide Horizons: Explore and pilot social enterprise ideas, from problem to pitch!
- Self Leadership: A flexible learning journey, with memorable shared experiences and personal reflection
- Effective Team Skills: Working together with confidence, awareness, empathy and respect, young people can gain a qualification and valuable skills
- Employability: Cross-sector partnerships, developing skills and opportunities for young people to sustain employment
Quality and Impact
260 young people have been involved in developing their self-leadership and enterprise skills and ambitions with us since 2012.
Their success is their own, and we're privileged to work with many partners in supporting their growth.
Many participants have reflected that it was through the safety and support on their learning journey that they found their 'turning point'.
Beyond Education Case Studies
Here's how learning experiences in social enterprise and self-leadership can help young people find their way
Learning for Young People
Since 2007, The Social Enterprise Academy schools programme has supported young people to set up and grow sustainable social enterprises in their schools and communities.
This transformational learning experience allows young people to develop key employability skills whilst aspiring to affect ongoing social change in their communities and beyond. We have worked with over 1200 nurseries, schools and colleges across Scotland, Australia, Malawi and London.
We're aware that the context that many young people are learning in has changed drastically over the last few months and we believe that supporting them to engage with their community is more important now than ever before.
Young people are feeling anxious and helpless, identifying needs around them and taking positive action will help them contribute to their community whilst developing their own skills and improving well-being by creating positive change.
Online Teacher CPD
For school staff and those working with young people we are also offering an online 'Supporting Young People to be Community Champions CPD' to provide practitioners with ideas for exploring social issues with their young people, supporting them to take positive action within their community and develop essential skills for life, learning and work. Follow the link below to find out more about this opportunity.
Giving young people, whether they are 4 or 24, the chance to develop their own enterprise can transform how they feel about work.
Our programmes are highly responsive, practical and have proven positive impacts on young people of all backgrounds.