The Project

The principal aim of YEA is to Promote Entrepreneurship Education and Social Entrepreneurship among young people by integrating entrepreneurship training into youth services in the field of creative, performing and digital arts. Rather than viewing entrepreneurship just as a means to self-employment, YEA is built on the premise that entrepreneurship is a transversal skill of relevance to all young people because of the numerous ways it can be employed to further their goals.

The benefit of teaching entrepreneurship via youth service organizations is that it enables the participation of a much wider group of young people than is possible through traditional Vocational Educational and Training (VET) and academic structures. Moreover, while we will include profit-orientated aspects of enterprise, youth work organizations provide a natural forum for exploring social enterprise and community innovation. Our project outputs, particularly the training curriculum and course, will therefore focus on improving skills in problem identification and problem solving, innovation and sustainability.   In this way, we achieve a balance between traditional and social entrepreneurship, and encourage young people to become agents of social innovation, setting up successful enterprises and/or tackling problems related to the sustainability of arts projects themselves, or to wider societal problems.

YEA also contributes directly to promoting high quality youth work because it facilitates greater alignment between the needs and opportunities of society and the skills that youth organizations are able to impart to young people. To achieve this, we have structured our project around knowledge sharing and collaborative working: the project will create 4 Youth Entrepreneurship through Arts Regional Alliances consisting of 40 stakeholders in entrepreneurship training, youth work (especially non-profit organizations), local authorities and regional and national organizations promoting social development. They will jointly explore opportunities and best practice in integrating entrepreneurship education into the informal structures of youth work; will draw up Regional Action Plans to commit these ideas to action; and the curriculum and course we devise will reflect the best practice they collectively identify.

Moreover, the Regional Alliance will be structured in such a way that it can become a permanent forum for stakeholder collaboration for entrepreneurship education in youth services and our toolkit will be used to help promote the creation of similar Alliances across Europe, to catalyse similar improvements in quality in other regions.

A third key aspect of our strategy is the strengthening of training paths for educators and youth workers. Effective youth work that facilitates and empowers is built on empathy, trust and relationships, as well as creative learning strategies. Youth workers are both educators and role models and hold great sway over young people. For this reason, we believe that it is youth workers, rather than traditional enterprise trainers, who will be more effective in teaching entrepreneurship to young people.

However, because of the informal nature of their teaching, and the fact that many youth workers work on a voluntary basis, there are few training opportunities available.   YEA seeks to redress this by developing a unique course to train creative youth workers to teach entrepreneurship effectively. With this target group in mind, the course will be designed to be:

Training is ideally classroom based, but a large number of materials will be available for personal study online and promoted as an independent resource for youth workers everywhere;
It will not treat enterprise as a stand alone subject, but rather a transversal skill, teaching youth workers in how to employ creative pedagogic strategies that embed entrepreneurship into existing activities.