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Only 3% Learn About Self Employment in Further Education

While the UK is going through a self employment revolution right now it appears your average college and university have not got the memo.

This comes on the back of research which suggests that only 1% of freelance professionals learnt about self employment in college, with a further 2% learning about it in university.

Instead, the message in college and university still very much seems to be a traditional one with “get a job” or “choose a career” being the main things you will hear.

Despite students not hearing words like “go out on your own” or “work for yourself,” that hasn’t deterred the British public from setting up their own shop though, especially 16 to 29 year olds who are really embracing the freelance and contractor lifestyle.

Recent estimates put our nations self employed at nearly 5 million strong, with some experts claiming it won’t be long until we hit 10 million. I’m not sure this figure will be reached anytime soon, but the one thing I do know, is that if college and universities have anything to do with it we won’t ever get there.

To give you an example of how out of touch further education is with self employment…the arts and media industries is currently going through boom times in the UK with thousands of people working for themselves in this area, but in college and universities there is absolutely no education regarding self employment in arts or media subjects.

You couldn’t make it up really, and it just goes to show how far behind the times many of these places are.

Things are changing, although slowly, as organisations such as the IEEC (International Entrepreneurship Educators Conference) are touring cities around the UK to better educate the educators, so to speak.

Not only that, but some further education establishments are catching up and getting with the times. Take Middlesex University as an example, who are currently implementing modules within their courses that provides guidance on entrepreneurship and self employment.

The IPSE (Independent Professionals and the Self Employed) have also gave their opinion on all of this, and what they say is that many young people want to work for themselves but are put off because they don’t yet have a “big idea.”

Maybe TV shows like Dragons Den and The Apprentice have put too much emphasis on the so called “big idea” in order to start a business or go self employed, and this is also what is taught in further education.

Instead, the message to young people should be more realistic if you ask me, with a major focus on the fact that it really is all about getting started and gaining experience.

Sometimes that “big idea” or “big break” comes when you least expect it, but you have to be in a position to take advantage of it.

Of course, many young people are not taught anything about self employment in college and university, which means many of them have to work it out themselves.

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