From education to employment



According to research from YouGov and the University of Buckingham, over a third (38%) of Generation Z (18 – 25 year olds) would be concerned about starting their own business in Britain in 2020 because of the potential consequences of Brexit.  Of those who have or are planning to start their own business, this number rises to 54%.

Almost one in three (28%) also expressed worry about the recent General Election, and over a quarter (27%) said international trade matters like trades wars and trading with the EU were a concern.

Risk and financial support were also noted as key factors in whether young people would consider starting a business.  Over half (52%) of those asked felt there is too much risk involved in launching a business, and nearly half (47%) of young people claimed the fear of not being able to support themselves financially would prevent them.

A lack of education in entrepreneurialism also appears be a problem. Only a quarter (25%) of Generation Z in the UK received any education, career advice or extracurricular activities relating to entrepreneurialism.  

The type of school also had an effect on how young people feel about risk and financial support.  More than half (55%) of those that went to non-selective state school worry they wouldn’t be able to support themselves financially versus just 42% of young people who went to a private fee-paying school.  

This comes as the University of Buckingham announces that for the first time, it will be offering matched funding for tuition for 20 first year students applying to their 2020/2021 Business Enterprise BBE degree to help alleviate some of those barriers.  A group of entrepreneurs, including Adam McGill, Founder, Fizz Group, are funding the additional course fees.  Additionally, since the undergraduate degree is taught over two years instead of the usual three, students are likely to have less debt through living expenses, as well as tuition fees. 

The mismatch in enterprise education in schools has also an effect on how confident young people feel about starting a business. Forty-two percent of state educated young people said they would not feel confident enough to start their own business, versus just 32% of young people who went to private schools.

Sir Anthony Seldon, Vice Chancellor, University of Buckingham, said

“As British business faces an uncertain future, it is vital that we support entrepreneurialism, and ensure Britain remains a world leader in enterprise and innovation.

“But to do this we must nurture our next generation to enable young entrepreneurial talent to shine through.  For too long, entrepreneurialism has been deprioritised in schools and children have been taught to avoid risk.  This is a mistake.”

We urge Prime Minister Boris Johnson, to get entrepreneurialism on the curriculum in schools and change the perception on enterprise education.  Teaching enterprise in schools is crucial for Britain to have the edge in creating ambitious entrepreneurs.”

Adam McGill, entrepreneur and founder of Fizz Group, experienced first-hand the lack of educational support available: 

“I got that entrepreneurial instinct when I started my business at 15 years old and still in school. When I spoke to my teacher about my ambitions, I was told I was stupid.

“Our education system needs to encourage and support interest in entrepreneurialism among young people. While starting a business might be riskier than becoming a doctor, we need to celebrate and encourage a healthy amount of risk that can pay off in dividends for young people, and the country as a whole. Despite being told by teachers to pursue the standard academic route, I knew that my decision to become an entrepreneur and support my family was the right one.

“I believe passionately in improving access to entrepreneurialism for all young people and this is why I decided to become a donor to the University of Buckingham matched funding scheme.”  

Phillip Salter, The Entrepreneur’s Network (TEN), commented: 

Despite political turmoil, Britain has continued to remain a global hub of entrepreneurship. However, for this to truly continue we can’t overlook key issues such as talent and nurturing young entrepreneurs.

A strong start-up eco-system is key to economic growth and innovation in Britain, and to maintain this we must consider modernising school curriculums to encourage entrepreneurialism.”

Methodology: 1,004 respondents completed the survey which was carried out to understand how accessible it is to become an entrepreneur and what the barriers are. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Fieldwork was undertaken between 25th – 27th November 2019.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Great British 18 – 25 year olds.

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