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Enterprise Link: Ed Miliband tells students enterprise education is the key to success

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Labour leader chats to Young Enterprise participants at Ridgewood Comprehensive School, Doncaster.

Ed Miliband spoke to students at Ridgewood Comprehensive School in his Doncaster constituency on the importance of enterprise education as Young Enterprise launches its Company Programme for the new academic year. The visit arose as sign-ups for the Young Enterprise Company Programme in Yorkshire and Humber increased by 11% in the year up to September 2012.

Mr Miliband said, “I think enterprise education is really important for young people in providing them with the skills they need. But the problem is that youth unemployment remains stubbornly high – it’s still over 950,000 young people. That’s 950,000 young people who could be contributing to the future of our country and aren’t because they’re not in work, and we’ve got to change that. The work Young Enterprise is doing shows that young people can be really inspired by enterprise, by the teamwork it involves, by the idea of coming up with your own ideas, selling them to people. That’s why I think Young Enterprise is a great example to many schools and many businesses.

“Youth unemployment is a very important issue. We would make sure that every young person who’s been unemployed for more than twelve months has a guarantee of a job because we just think it’s wrong to leave young people out of work for year after year, but also it is about getting the training and qualifications young people get in school or college right as well. That’s why Young Enterprise is important as good vocational qualifications are equally as important as good academic qualifications.”

Head teacher Christopher Hoyle says, “The quality of the interaction between students and Mr. Miliband has been extremely inspiring. Young Enterprise gives students abundance of confidence in their personal skills and the way they approach work. The variety of topics raised and the depth of the intelligence of questions discussed today by the students to the potential Prime Minister is testament to the contribution Young Enterprise makes to these students’ lives.”

“Young Enterprise is the UK’s leading enterprise education charity. Under the Company Programme young people aged 15-19 set up and run a real firm for a year under the guidance of a business volunteer. They do everything from raising the initial share capital through to designing and making their product or service to selling directly to customers at specially organised trade fairs and ultimately winding up the firm and paying their taxes.”

Michael Mercieca, CEO of Young Enterprise, pictured with Ed Miliband, says, “We are hugely grateful for Mr Miliband’s support in getting across our message. We want as many business leaders and politicians as possible to support the wider use of our programmes which foster the attitude, develop the qualities, and teach the skills required for young people to be ready, willing and able to get to grips with the world of work. This is what our young people deserve.”

Ed Miliband’s support for Young Enterprise comes ahead of a Parliamentary Reception at the House of Commons on 24th October where the charity will unveil new research showing the enormous potential that offering enterprise in the classroom has to unleash the hidden talents of the nation’s young people.

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