What is the Institute of Service & Entrepreneurship? Why has it been created?
The Institute of Service & Entrepreneurship is a virtual institute, or strategic area of focus for the school. It was created as part of the vision for the future, and in order to strengthen the school’s position at the forefront of international education. The institute has three pillars: Service, Charity and Entrepreneurship and a clear mission “to inspire contribution to society in a sustainable fashion throughout life by developing a service ethos, entrepreneurial activities and community spirit”.
Is it suitable for everyone? How does it work alongside the curriculum?
We hope that the Institute will have an impact on all of our students. We currently have a wide range of local service activities conducted by a large number of our students every Thursday during our allocated VSU (Voluntary Service Unit) afternoon. Charitable activities are conducted around the timetable with a huge host of fundraising initiatives, an annual charity week held for each separate area of the school, and international ‘PROMO’ trips that include both service activities on the ground in a developing country, and substantial fundraising.
Both Service and Charity activities are an extremely useful vehicle for teaching entrepreneurial skills to our students, however we have now put a further focus on developing entrepreneurial skills and the mindset of a social entrepreneur. At present, we have a number of activities organised through which we take the students off timetable to develop their entrepreneurial skills. These include a Social Enterprise Day for Sixth Form students, plus a variety of co-curricular activities such as competitions during Global Entrepreneurship Week, a Business Plan Competition and a Dragons’ Den style Pitching Final.
Various activities run in conjunction with our HE department such as ‘Insight Days’ in which we take students to learn about businesses and different industries, and work related training including working on real life challenges for local organisations. We have also introduced specific workshops on topics like ideation, and product design, negotiation skills, and networking aimed at developing specific skills. We are planning to further integrate these activities into the curriculum over time.
How does it help to prepare students for the future?
We no longer know which jobs will exist, and so instead we concentrate on developing the entrepreneurial skills, knowledge and mindset that students will need to succeed in the rapidly changing future work environment. We are also aware that our students will be leaders of the future, and as such we want to prepare them to be responsible, ethically minded leaders, who will act for the good of society in their future ventures.
What type of skills do they learn?
Specific skills include creativity, complex problem solving, communication skills, collaboration, and resilience as well as digital competency. Relevant knowledge is important such as developing an understanding of the business environment and financial literacy. We also look at risk taking, one’s entrepreneurial intentions, proactivity, and the ability to make decisions with the information available at hand.