Fleur HUDIG, Head of Corporate Citizenship, NN Group
The COVID-19 pandemic is putting our economies under unprecedented pressure. Increases in unemployment figures are unfortunately reported every day and the continued uncertainty is threatening many companies of all sizes, across all sectors.
While governments are putting forward rescue packages to support their economies, we believe it is important to remember that the former challenges have not gone away: sustainability or social inequalities, to mention a few, shall still deserve our full attention.
Milena Stoycheva, CEO of JA Bulgaria
Over the last 9 months, close to 600 girls aged between 12 and 18 have taken part in 20 workshops dedicated to digital and entrepreneurial skills. The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and a consortium of Junior Achievement offices, composed of JA Bulgaria, JA Greece, JA Lithuania, JA Romania, JA Serbia and JA Europe, together with our partner Apps for Good, teamed up to deliver trainings to equip young girls with the entrepreneurial and digital skills essential for their future working lives and support the EU’s Digital Education Action Plan.
Lauren Lane, a 22-year-old cloud automation engineer at Citi, is one of thousands of Junior Achievement Ireland (JAI) volunteers who mentor and help students in primary and second level schools across Ireland. Responding to demand from schools, JAI recruits, vets, trains, equips and supports volunteers from the business world to facilitate programmes spanning four themes: entrepreneurship, employability, financial literacy and the value of STEM.
The programmes are designed to complement the formal curriculum and allow students to
learn from the experiences of their volunteer. A survey of more than 700 JAI volunteers last year showed that 77 per cent felt their communication skills had improved, 59 per cent had increased their confidence, and 99 per cent would recommend a JA programme to a colleague.
Strategic thinking and progressing through their studies with an open mind is wise advice for students in 2019. Research from the World’s Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report found the workplace and many of our traditional job roles are changing drastically. Some 65 per cent of the jobs the next generation will be hired for do not even exist today. By 2025, it is predicted that six million low-qualified jobs will potentially disappear while 15 million jobs requiring high educational attainment will be created.
Lauren is delighted to be involved as Citi volunteer, having enjoyed JA programmes during every year of her primary school education.
“Completing the JA programmes helped to open my eyes to the opportunities that were out there,” said Lane. “I went on to be a female in the world of tech after studying Business and Computing at the National College of Art and Design. I decided to ‘pay it forward’ and be a volunteer because I want other students to get what I did from the JA programmes, to see all the different possibilities that are out there.
"I want to be a role model for girls in tech because you can’t be what you can’t see, and those students can see what I have accomplished and learn about how they too can achieve whatever they want.”
Reprinted from Business Post
Merja Kyllönen, Member of European Parliament, Finland
Last week, through the JA Back to School initiative, I had the opportunity to visit a vocational secondary school in Kajaani, Finland. It was quite different from my own school time – of which I mostly remember the strict timetables and classrooms. I was very impressed with “YritysAmis” and their emphasis on building entrepreneurial attitudes and cooperative skills. Learning environments have been renewed with the aim to make students more entrepreneurial and less confined to traditional classrooms.
Dr. Vera Demary, Head of Research Unit “Structural Change and Competition”, Cologne Institute for Economic Research, Germany
Despite all the effort, data clearly shows that Europe is lagging behind the US when it comes to entrepreneurship and founding new companies. It is common knowledge that there are two main obstacles to becoming an entrepreneur in Europe: the availability of venture capital and administrative hurdles.