«Learners with entrepreneurial skills know what their employers do and what responsibilities they assume.»
«Entrepreneurial thinking and acting opens up new possibilities and perspectives for students’ professional career.»
«Entrepreneurial thinking and acting strengthens students’ self-efficacy.»
«Entrepreneurial thinking and acting enables students to positively shape their world and change it.»
The successful development and partial implementation of a business idea enables important self-efficacy experiences. In this way, vocational students can develop skills that are of enormous importance, especially with regard to preparing them for future work models. There is much to suggest that digitalization will give rise to new forms of work in which personal responsibility and initiative will play an even greater role.
Entrepreneurial skills are skills for the future! A better understanding of how responsible entrepreneurial thinking and acting works is important. This is true regardless of whether someone later builds up something new as a founder, continues to run an existing company as a successor, or works as an entrepreneurial employee.
It is always about actively shaping something. This can be learned.
The European Union has long since recognized this. As early as 2006, according to a recommendation by the European Parliament and the European Council «sense of initiative and learning» were considered one of eight key competencies for lifelong learning, alongside competencies such as communication in the mother tongue, mathematical, or digital competences.
Learning to be entrepreneurial, to act socially and ethically: To date, entrepreneurial competencies have hardly been taught at vocational schools in Switzerland. Although there are individual initiatives, there is no systematic anchoring. The conditions for entrepreneurs are generally very good in Switzerland. Consider, for example, the conditions for university students, who are supported with start-up lectures, consulting and coaching services, or special business plan competitions. However, there are hardly any comparable opportunities at vocational schools. Our project thus makes an important contribution to more equal opportunities.
The «ETA» initiative is to be disseminated through teacher further education. In this way, a network of people can be established who can all draw on a comparable basis of understanding. Only through the resulting «snowball effect» will a nationwide dissemination be possible at all.
In the spirit of business excellence, we plan to award an ETA certificate to education providers. We plan to design the certification according to the Austrian TRIO model of entrepreneurial education, which promotes the teaching of entrepreneurial thinking and acting, the stimulation of entrepreneurial passion, and the empowerment of individual independence and responsibility (Lindner, 2019, www.eesi-impulszentrum.at) at the school level. Criteria such as school activities, demands on teaching staff, and the organizational framework shall be reviewed and evaluated. A tiered model (basic and advanced) will be used to initiate best practices and increase the participation of further schools. The certification process will be launched at the end of 2021. Applications will be possible starting January 2022.