Schools must make better business links

Chris Heaton-Harris with Ghulam Abbas
Chris Heaton-Harris with Ghulam Abbas

Panellists called for schools to build better links with local businesses at a round table debate chaired by Daventry’s MP Chris Heaton-Harris.

The debate was hosted at the House of Commons on Tuesday, November 18 by Amway, an international direct-selling business.

The report questioned 43,902 people in 38 countries on whether they believed entrepreneurs are born or made, with 63 per cent saying they believed entrepreneurial skills could be taught.

The report found that only 16 per cent of Britons believe schools teach children entrepreneurial skills sufficiently, yet 80 per cent consider that encouraging entrepreneurship is a positive step for the United Kingdom.

Chris Heaton-Harris said the panel concluded that businesses could play a vital role in the education system.

He said: “We all came to the conclusion you can’t necessarily teach people how to do business, but they can learn a lot from other people’s experience.

“I am all for anything that we can do to encourage entrepreneurs.

“Starting a business, as anyone that has done it will know, is not easy; you have to create your market when you are at your weakest.

“However, I want everyone to have that opportunity and if we can become a nation of small businesses, I think that would be a phenomenal thing.”

Mr Heaton-Harris said he would like to see schools and academies in Daventry follow the lead of the town’s University Technical College and forge closer links with their local business community.

He said: “There are some really good projects going on at the UTC. It would be fantastic if academies, which are supposed to have a community focus, could also take part in this.”

The UTC currently has strong links with a number of employers such as Tompkins Joinery, which offers a five-year apprenticeship programme to eligible students.

Mr Heaton-Harris argued that a valuable contribution could be made to the leadership of academies if businesses joined as school governors.

He added: “However, you wouldn’t at first want to see businesses having a say on the curriculum.”