JEP - An Enterprising Take on Education
For those of us able to remember our schooldays, we might recall a favourite subject or teacher. What makes them stick in our minds is that we found a particular class engaging. It was able to hold our attention and, perhaps, teach us the kind of lessons which might have sparked an interest that ultimately helped to forge careers.
Over the last few years, I’m delighted to say that the Nightline Group has been involved in a venture which has adopted a new approach to engaging primary school pupils. The Junior Entrepreneur Programme (JEP) is not the kind of item which was on my school curriculum. It aims to fire children’s imagination by opening their minds to the possibilities of running their own business. Since being launched in 2010 by Jerry Kennelly in Kerry and Limerick, the initiative has gone national and has proven to be a great success.
Nightline has partnered with schools in the north of the city of Dublin and contributed to a growing number of classes, each one of which covers one particular entrepreneurial project. They have included students at North Dublin National School Project coming up with souvenirs to commemorate this year’s centenary of the Easter Rising, the Scoil Naomh Colmcille in Donaghmede developing a menu healthy foods to sell to fellow pupils and adults or Scoil Áine in Raheny selling decorative painted plates.
In 2016, 500 pupils across North Dublin will take part in the classes. Having participated in some of the sessions myself, I know why the scheme is incredibly popular. It not only gives children a sense of what it means to originate and operate a business but assists in honing other skills essential to their broader education, such as literacy, numeracy, research, drawing, team-building and technology.
The Programme runs for between 10 weeks and four months each year and the intention is that some 250,000 will have been through it by the end of the decade. This is not merely a diversion from learning about history, maths or science but feeds into the culture of enterprise which is so much a part of Ireland’s history. As such, it’s a project dear to our hearts, given that Nightline’s two decades of success began because of the ambitions of myself and my co-founder, Dave Field, to run our own company.
We’re not alone either. Despite having a population of fewer than five million people, we’re considered so able to punch above our weight in entrepreneurial terms that Ireland came top of Forbes’ magazine’s list of the ‘Best Countries for Business’ in 2014. Whilst the JEP is all about injecting fun and focus into the classroom timetable, who is to say that it might not form ideas of children which we and other companies have been working with to be their own bosses and further our glowing entrepreneurial reputation.
I wold encourage all primary schools to participate in this programme.
If you would like to find out more please visit the JEP site.
John Tuohy, CEO Nightline Group, 2016.