Merja Kyllönen, Member of European Parliament, Finland
Last week, through the JA Back to School initiative, I had the opportunity to visit a vocational secondary school in Kajaani, Finland. It was quite different from my own school time – of which I mostly remember the strict timetables and classrooms. I was very impressed with “YritysAmis” and their emphasis on building entrepreneurial attitudes and cooperative skills. Learning environments have been renewed with the aim to make students more entrepreneurial and less confined to traditional classrooms.
Dr. Vera Demary, Head of Research Unit “Structural Change and Competition”, Cologne Institute for Economic Research, Germany
Despite all the effort, data clearly shows that Europe is lagging behind the US when it comes to entrepreneurship and founding new companies. It is common knowledge that there are two main obstacles to becoming an entrepreneur in Europe: the availability of venture capital and administrative hurdles.
Thomas A. Schmid, Chief Operating Officer, Hyundai Motor Europe
Europe has been experiencing turbulent times, both politically as well as economically. At the same time, we have seen the region living up to the challenges. Just look at the countries that were struggling most with the Euro crisis: their economies are mostly on the upswing again. That’s an important trend for all Europeans – and in particular for the young who, despite their good education, have found it hard to secure work.
Martina Dlabajova, Member of European Parliament, Czech Republic
"Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of minds to think." -Albert Einstein
I must confess that I like my job at the European Parliament, although there are days when I would like to exchange my parliamentary bench with a school bench. Who doesn't like remembering those carefree school years? However, we should be careful what we wish for because sometimes it might come true. That's how I ended up back at secondary school - even if from a slightly different position.
Sara Angulo Benitez, Head of Citizenship Europe, Barclays
More and more studies show clear evidence that young people lack the necessary skills to secure employment or become entrepreneurs themselves. By now we have been talking about the skills gap for quite a long time and calling businesses for action, to get involved and contribute to minimising this gap – Barclays has answered that call and partnered with JA Europe to guide the next generation on the path to success, entrepreneurship, and employability.