Ann Wallace writes that experts from across the technology industry are helping Young Business Scotland respond to the pandemic’s effects and accelerate the speed of online learning.
Young Enterprise Scotland’s chief executive, Geoff Leask, had a straightforward message for his team during his first video conference during the lockdown in March.
“I remember saying to them, ‘We’re not going back to the way we did things before,'” he remembers. It was our first online pandemic meeting. I wanted them to know that for young people across Scotland, we would always achieve the same results, but we would function in a slightly different way.
“And that has certainly been the case.”
In Scotland’s education system, the Covid 19 pandemic has compounded many current problems and magnified concerns around inclusion and social mobility. YE Scotland is driving entrepreneurial learning, which is rapidly recognized as a gateway to the education of young people in Scotland.
Economic resilience, Geoff says, includes entrepreneurship, and YE Scotland places entrepreneurial skills from an early age at the core of education, adding, “Education needs to address a wide range of needs – no one size fits all.”
But the pandemic also taught us that progress is possible – and quick. New teaching models, new ways to help students, and new ways to reach a wider audience have been implemented.
“Conventional wisdom suggests that in a classroom and in person, education is best delivered. Yet online learning technologies that arose before the pandemic, powered by the impact of closure and social distancing, are now expanding and being accepted.
For example, making our corporate programs more widely accessible via digitization, our strategic plan for blended learning was already in the works,” he adds.”
“What the pandemic has done is accelerate our ambitions and allow us to develop them and create more opportunities. And as in many other areas of society, we’ve learned that things can be changed and accomplished faster than we might have thought.”
Over the past two months, YE Scotland has launched new activities online with the aid of the newly created Scottish Tech Army.
Geoff laughs, “The Scottish Tech Army does what it says on the tin,” People from across the Scottish technology industry, some on leave, some between contracts, have come together to see what kind of assistance they can give to third-sector organizations to help them adapt to a mixed way of working.
They took a look, so to speak, under our hood, and realized that we were not far from getting the support we needed. We could make enormous progress with a little fine tuning.
This progress includes helping third-year computer science students at the University of Glasgow build new digital business resources and launching the leading online business program for tertiary education in Scotland, Bridge 2 Business, a partnership between YE Scotland and institutions of secondary education across the country.
Digitizing the tools makes the curriculum easily available to all students who are interested in creating their own company or who want to apply entrepreneurship skills for the first time in the workplace.
YE Scotland also collaborates with e-Sgoil, the online learning network that allows schools across Scotland to remotely access live learning by providing weekly creativity and business sessions.
The Awards Network, for example, includes a forum of providers working together to raise awareness of non-formal learning awards available to young people aged 12-25 and using approaches to youth work,”We’re not alone in this – the Awards Network, for example, a forum of providers working together to raise awareness of non-formal learning awards available to young people aged 12-25 and using youth work approaches, are also involved,”We are not alone in this.
The key is that our programs provide life and work experience and skills for students, whether they are self-sufficient or not. ‘Learning by doing’ has always been our motto.
“There’s a growing recognition that contextualizing learning is critical to helping young people develop the skills they need – these are the things you can’t learn in a book.”
For YE Scotland, the greatest gain is that of