Skip to main content


EACEA National Policies Platform


3. Employment & Entrepreneurship

3.8 Development of entrepreneurship competence

Last update: 26 January 2021

LAST MODIFIED ON: 16/11/2020

On this page
  1. Policy Framework
  2. Formal learning
  3. Non-formal and informal learning
  4. Educators support in entrepreneurship education


Policy Framework

The Youth Entrepreneurship Strategy (YES) Action Plan 2010-15, launched in November 2010, built on the original strategy launched in 2004 and was developed in collaboration with public, private and voluntary sector partners across Wales. The Plan was a collaboration between the Welsh Government’s Department of Economy, Science and Transport and the Department for Education and Skills. It also benefited from collaboration with other departments across the Welsh Government and with partners.

The YES Action Plan sought to focus on support most needed by young people at each stage of their journey in entrepreneurship:

  1. raising their awareness
  2. developing their entrepreneurial skills
  3. sparking ideas
  4. providing practical information and support for those seeking to start up in business.

In addition, the Plan identified three strategic audiences, namely: Education, Business and the Community – each of which have a critical role in supporting young people.

In 2014, the Welsh Government commissioned an evaluation of the programme. The findings of the evaluation have informed the development of the Business Wales – Youth Entrepreneurship Service, which commenced 1st January 2016.

Prospects delivers Business Wales - Youth Entrepreneurship Services (YES) in primary and secondary schools in Wales on behalf the Welsh Government. The work targets children and young people from primary and secondary schools with a range of innovative activities to increase awareness of entrepreneurship and raises aspirations in Wales, as a country of young business innovators. Further information about YES is available from the Big Ideas Wales website.

Business Wales services are funded through European Regional Development Funding (ERDF) Operational Programme for West Wales and the Valleys. Services are intended to support Entrepreneurship delivery from 2015 to 2020; they include ‘Entrepreneurship Exchange’, a partnership venture to improve understanding and engagement of entrepreneurship in Wales.

In 2017, the promotion of youth entrepreneurship was embedded into Wales’ broader Prosperity for All – Economic Action Plan 2017-2021, which, according to informants, did not hamper the delivery of youth entrepreneurship measures; on the contrary, measures seem to have been even increasing.


Formal learning

Entrepreneurship education in compulsory education

Entrepreneurship education is included in the compulsory curriculum subject personal and social education (PSE) at ISCED 1, 2 and 3. PSE covers a broad area of study. Its aims relating to entrepreneurship and enterprise are to prepare learners for the choices and opportunities of lifelong learning and the challenges, choices and responsibilities of work and adult life. The subject also covers financial literacy.

During secondary education (ISCED 2 and 3) entrepreneurship education is also covered by careers and the world of work (CWW) which helps learners:

  • explore the attitudes and values required for employability and lifelong learning
  • plan and manage their pathway through the range of opportunities in learning and work
  • make effective career choices
  • become entrepreneurial
  • flourish in a variety of work settings
  • become motivated, set long term goals and overcome barriers
  • see the relevance of their studies to their life and work
  • develop Key Skills and other skills required by employers
  • prepare for the challenges, choices and responsibilities of work and adult life.

CWW is part of the requirements of the 'Learning Core' which all students aged 14 to 19 must access as part of their studies.  

Curriculum documents are available from the Learning Wales website.  

Further information about enterprise education may also be found in the 2016 Eurydice publication entitled Entrepreneurship Education at School in Europe.

Developing young people with an enterprising mindset will be one of four main purposes of the new Welsh curriculum which will be available for use from September 2020 onwards and be rolled out to different year groups between 2022 and 2026. It will also recognise the need for enterprising, creative contributors, ready to play a full part in life and work who:

  • connect and apply their knowledge and skills to create ideas and products
  • think creatively to reframe and solve problems
  • identify and grasp opportunities
  • take measured risks
  • lead and play different roles in teams effectively and responsibly
  • express ideas and emotions through different media
  • give of their energy and skills so that other people will benefit

Hands on entrepreneurship experiences

Young people in Wales are given the opportunity to participate in hands-on business experiences, which include, amongst others:

  • The Enterprise Troopers Competition provides primary school age children across Wales with an opportunity to showcase their enterprise activities whilst developing entrepreneurial skills in a fun and interactive way. It helps to develop teamwork, literacy and numeracy skills. It also develops ambition, enterprise, creativity and ethical trading – supporting the four purposes of the Curriculum for Wales 2022.
  • The Tenner Challenge is for young people aged 11-19 who want to get a taste of what it’s like to be an entrepreneur. It gives them a chance to think of a new business idea and make it happen, using real money to take calculated risks in the business field, make a profit and make a difference.
  • The Fiver Challenge is for 5 to 11-year-olds across the UK. It gives participants £5 to set up mini businesses to create products or services they can then sell/deliver at a profit and engage with their local community.
  • National Primary School Competition –The Enterprise Troopers asks pupils to start and grow their own business and provides an opportunity for schools to showcase their entrepreneurial activities.
  • The YES services (see above) also provide activity based workshops which are designed to allow young people to discover the skills needed to become a successful entrepreneur and guidance on how to overcome challenges along the way. 

Entrepreneurship education in higher education

There is no single model that describes the delivery of enterprise and entrepreneurship across higher education providers in the UK. Delivery models include enterprise and entrepreneurship being:

  • managed by a central unit
  • embedded in the curriculum by subject specialist educators
  • embedded in the curriculum under another name such as 'professional studies' or 'personal marketing skills'
  • delivered through a careers service
  • led or supported through facilities such as incubators, boot camps and extra-curricular clubs and societies.

In the context of extra-curricular activities, some institutions offer summer schools or events that are led by staff or students. Many actively support start-up activities and deliver mentoring support beyond graduation. Students can also gain practical experience through external bodies such as Enactus, an international not-for-profit organisation that works with leaders in business and education to develop socially responsible entrepreneurs. Shell Livewire, an online community that offers networking, advice and a chance to win monthly and annual 'grand ideas' awards, is another example of extra-curricular engagement in higher education.

Participation in extracurricular activities may in some cases be formally recognised and recorded, for example through reference to the personal development process (in which learners identify key areas of learning and development activity that will enable them to either acquire new or develop existing skills and attributes) and use of transcripts, as well as the Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR).

There are also stand-alone degree programmes (including master's degree programmes) in some institutions which may involve actual business start-up as an integral requirement.

In 2012, the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) produced guidance for UK higher education providers on enterprise and entrepreneurship education. It contains a broad framework that providers can use to articulate learning outcomes that can be applied across a wide range of delivery types. 

The National Centre for Entrepreneurship in Education supports entrepreneurship both in higher education and in its graduates.

Non-formal and informal learning

Non-formal and informal education in support of young people’s wider learning and development lie at the heart of youth work. Youth work organisations, including local authorities, the third sector and uniformed organisations, (Scout or Guides Girls) often carry out activities which lead to the development of entrepreneurship competence. See the subheading 'Hands on entrepreneurship experiences' in ‘Formal Learning’ above for examples of such work.

Educators support in entrepreneurship education

Enterprise education is not mentioned in the Teachers' Standards which underpin initial teacher training.

Responsibility for continuing professional development (CPD) is shared across a range of organisations, including schools, local authorities, the Welsh Government and individual teachers. Teachers have a professional duty to review their methods of teaching and programmes of work, and to participate in arrangements for their in-service training or CPD as teachers throughout their careers. Enterprise education may be an element of CPD.

The YES Action Plan 2010-15 (WAG, 2010) included an intention to 'enhance opportunities for continuing professional development for teaching practitioners and to raise awareness of best practice in teaching and learning entrepreneurship'. 

The EBEA is a professional subject association for teachers interested in the teaching and study of economics, business and enterprise.

There are also a number of National Occupational Standards (NOS) which cover entrepreneurship and enterprise. NOS, which set out the standards of performance expected when carrying out functions in the workplace and specifications of the underpinning knowledge and understanding. From 2015, they are no longer being maintained but will remain publicly available.