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More business needed in schools says top Northern Irish politician

Robin Swann is Chairman of the Stormont Committee for Employment and Learning

Mr Robin Swann, the North Antrim Ulster Unionist Party Assemblyman and Chairman of the Stormont Committee for Employment and Learning, has called on the Sinn Fein education minister to boost the economy by investing in more entrepreneurship courses in schools.

Assemblyman Swann, who is also North Antrim UUP Chairman and Party Chief Whip, issued his challenge after he asked the Minister of Education to detail any strategies or initiatives his department has to implement entrepreneurship education.

In his response to Mr Swann, the Sinn Fein schools minister said: “Employability, including entrepreneurship, is a key theme underpinning the revised curriculum which aims to better prepare all our young people for all aspects of life and work and enable them to develop as confident and articulate individuals, able to play their full part in our society and economy.

“At primary level through the area of Personal Development and Mutual Understanding, pupils are now given opportunities to develop the knowledge, skills, understanding, attitudes and personal qualities related to enterprise and entrepreneurship.

“At post-primary level, entrepreneurship is covered under the Employability strand of Learning for Life and Work with a focus on Work in the Local and Global Economy, Career Management and Enterprise and Entrepreneurship.

“Pupils are given opportunity to reflect on their own skills and areas for self-development; to explore the changing concept of ‘career’ and various types of jobs, including in the local area; to explore enterprise and entrepreneurship; and to develop and practise some of the skills and attributes associated with being enterprising.

“In addition to schools delegated budgets, my Department also provides funding to a number of organisations to provide enterprise, employability and innovation events and programmes either in school or at larger regional events, for both primary and post-primary pupils.

“These organisations include Young Enterprise, Sentinus and a number of Business Education Partnerships where local schools and businesses work together to address specific needs of pupils in a cluster of schools in a particular area,” the minister told Assemblyman Swann.

Mr Swann added: “The secret to rebuilding a strong and vibrant economy in Northern Ireland comes not just at the job creation level, but also in our schools where we can instil a keen interest in entrepreneurship in our pupils.

“These young people will be the entrepreneurs of the future business community so it is important that they learn these skills at an early age. That is why it is important for the education minister to invest in entrepreneurship courses in all schools and colleges,” said Assemblyman Swann.

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