Teachers' entrepreneurial and working life skills play a key role in enabling entrepreneurship education

Entrepreneurial attitudes among young people are at a higher level than before. With the transformation of the labour market, entrepreneurship is seen as a natural alternative to self-employment alongside paid work. In addition to self-employment, young people see entrepreneurship as an opportunity to fulfil themselves and their dreams and to build a better future through working together, taking responsibility and tackling environmental challenges.
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With a determined development of entrepreneurship education and the media revolution, young people are also more aware of entrepreneurship. According to international studies, Finland is a leader in entrepreneurship education. Good and natural cooperation between educational institutions and enterprises is a key pillar of the practical implementation of entrepreneurship education. In addition to practical projects, the most positive feedback on entrepreneurship education continues to come from cooperation with "real entrepreneurs".

Although entrepreneurship education has been promoted over the years through cooperation between different actors, the practical implementation still varies widely from place to place and from institution to institution. There are still too many fields, faculties and training programmes from which it is possible to graduate without being exposed to entrepreneurship education. In addition to the development of entrepreneurship education at different levels of education, support and specific training are needed for situations where entrepreneurial skills are needed after graduation, for example when setting up a business.

As entrepreneurship education in primary and secondary education develops, there is a growing realisation that students who have participated in quality entrepreneurship education also require related content in their further studies. Entrepreneurship education should be offered equally to all. Not everyone needs to become an entrepreneur; entrepreneurial and work-life skills are also useful when working for others.

Up-to-date entrepreneurial and professional skills of teachers are key to developing, expanding and consolidating entrepreneurship education. Close cooperation and dialogue between entrepreneurship education actors and teacher education is essential. However, the pace of change in the business environment is so rapid that the development of in-service teacher training is also needed.

The specialization training in entrepreneurship education (30 credits), launched by the Kerttu Saalasti Institute of the University of Oulu and the teacher training colleges, contributes to this challenge. It offers a unique opportunity for the co-development of entrepreneurship education. Based on the experience of the first implementation, it will be further developed and implemented in order to offer the opportunity for participation to as many people as possible in the future.

In a changing labour market and environment, the only constant is change - and the pace of change is accelerating. Flexibility and new ways of thinking are needed to respond to change. We need to develop the work-life orientation of education and training, as well as cooperation between educational institutions and businesses. Entrepreneurship education is not only the task of entrepreneurship educators or specialised teachers. It is a broad subject that needs all of us to plan and implement it.

The specialisation in entrepreneurship education -training programme (30 credits) is carried out in cooperation with HAMK, OAMK, TAMK, JAMK, Haaga-Helia and the University of Oulu Kerttu Saalasti Institute.

Jouni Hintikka, PhD Researcher, University of Oulu Kerttu Saalasti Institute, MicroENTRE