As Europe continues to battle against the global pandemic, we know that our young people will be affected for years to come. They are the ones who have been denied a face to face education and forced to learn in isolation and online. They are the ones who have been sacrificed to protect those older and more vulnerable. However, through all the fear and gloom, we hope that the EntreComp Certificate can offer young people a new way to recognise their skills and competencies, and help them to recover from their lost classroom time.
Our Erasmus+ project, the EntreComp Certificate, has the ambitious aim of becoming an internationally recognised careers award endorsed by Lancaster University, which will help students to recognise the array of entrepreneurial skills that they possess. The Class of 2021 and beyond may well have further developed these skills through lockdown.
Our European partnership has spent the last year creating the learning resources for the EntreComp Certificate so that it can be launched officially in our institutions in September 2021. We are hoping to distribute it further afield, to other schools, universities and careers providers, by January 2022.
We have faced many challenges with our project, mostly concerning the lack of continuity with our students, and our inability to meet and learn from each other face to face, but we have also experienced many wonderful moments. The students from Corbon School in Paris have worked enthusiastically, producing beautifully creative ideas for their instructional videos. Time flew as they laboured away, and they were inspired by the dream of sharing their work with other students involved with the project in Cyprus, hopefully in 2022. Emphasys, our Cypriot partner, have been instrumental in designing and developing the online platform which will hold the learning resources and the assessment tools for the award. Teachers from Enrico Fermi, in Sicily, have found that the award has attracted the attention of students who have previously been unmotivated and disinterested. These students have enjoyed the EntreComp programme, which seems non-scholastic from a curricular point of view, but encourages the individual skills, interests and intuition of each individual student.
At Lancaster Royal Grammar School, the leading school in the project, students have hosted fund-raising events for the Prince’s Trust (just before the first lockdown), won Young Enterprise competitions (online), and set up their own businesses and websites. They have relished being the first students to trial the Certificate. ‘Bread for Beds’ is a social enterprise company that has been established by a learner linked to Mi-Gen, another UK partner. And finally, Euro Ed in Iasi, Romania, has been collaborating with two different schools to produce some very professional and inspiring videos about the project to engage other young people.
We are very proud of all our young people who have managed to keep going despite the restrictions of a global pandemic, and we believe that their entrepreneurial spirit demonstrates that the young will pull through no matter what they have to suffer. Their efforts should inspire countless others to pursue the EntreComp Certificate in the future.