School children regard Branson & Sugar as best business role models

They said the Government should make it a top priority to put the learning of these ‘employability skills’ in the National Curriculum, according to the survey of more than 2,000 respondents.
 
The demand for formal teaching of the morals, attitudes and behaviour needed for a successful career at work came 12 per cent ahead of the second most popular option – to focus the curriculum even more narrowly on academic knowledge as the Coalition currently plans to do.
 
The poll also revealed the free-spirited tycoon Sir Richard Branson was the business figure parents would most like their children to look up to. He was backed by 58 per cent of respondents.
Lord Sugar came a close second
 
The results come in a new poll commissioned by Young Enterprise, Britain’s largest enterprise education charity, which sends 5,000 business volunteers into classrooms to teach 250,000 young people about the world of work every year. In 2011, some 30,000 pupils ran their own business for a year.
   
The findings suggest there is considerable support among parents for exposing young people to a wider curriculum designed to boost employability. 
 
Significantly, the youngest 18-34 year olds in the survey were keenest on a more job-oriented curriculum. Only 39 per cent wanted a purely academic approach to school life, compared to just over half of adults and 67 per cent of over 55’s.
 
Asked which successful business figure they would prefer their children to look up to Virgin entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson emerged well in the lead. He outstripped the presenter of BBC TVs ‘The Apprentice,’ Lord Alan Sugar, who came in a strong second and vacuum cleaner tycoon James Dyson.  Model Katie Price came in last with Victoria Beckham, Max Clifford and Louie Walsh all rooted to the bottom of the table.
 
Ian Smith, chairman of Young Enterprise, said: ‘’This powerful research by Young Enterprise shows the British public wants a sea-change in the way we teach our children to be responsible citizens and prepare them better for the world of work.
 
Smith added: ‘The Government has shown it is aware and willing to address the failure of basic learning. No one disputes high standards of maths, English and science are vital. But the current policy is alarmingly narrow. In the wake of the riots the Government must also provide young people with the skills, moral outlook, attitudes and behaviour that young people actually need in their working lives.’

‘Young people need employability skills like teamwork, presentation, reliability, honesty, integrity, and punctuality that employers look for. This is why we have launched the Young Enterprise Charter, a petition which has gained major support among businesses for its aim of getting enterprise education firmly established in the statutory curriculum. We will be presenting the results to Parliament in October.’

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