Fostering an Entrepreneurial Culture for Life-long Employability
3ci is sponsored an Essential Skills / Workplace Literacy project for fostering an entrepreneurial work culture amongst three target groups: Youth, Rural Women, and Older Under-employed Workers. The project sought to gather community partners together to develop a best-practices methodology for instilling entrepreneurial attitudes and self-directed learning approaches among participants from selected disadvantaged populations in Canada.
Carleton Centre for Community Innovation
Carleton University Talent First Network
Bell Canada Community Fund
Quebec Community Groups Network
The phrase “entrepreneurial culture” refers specifically to the fostering of attitudes of self-reliance, self-advocacy, and perseverance, and to the skills of personal visioning, social networking, financial and technological literacy, recognition of and response to opportunities, and self-directed learning, all of which combine to produce a social operating milieu that can be summarized as “entrepreneurial”. The project thus recognized that the traditionally-narrow focus on entrepreneurial skills development – particularly around business plan writing and “how to run a business” skills – is often insufficient for people from socially-disadvantaged groups.
This project proposed a comprehensive process to achieve the necessary evolution in individual attitudes and community support systems that will foster a self-directed learning approach to gaining employability skills. Self-directed learning is the key to lifelong employability within the knowledge economy. However, self-directed learning doesn’t always occur spontaneously. The project sought to foster the conditions by which participants could develop their own capacity to pursue their life’s work – no matter what socio-economic conditions or challenges they may have faced as individuals or within a community. The employability skills training delivered through the project was meant to increase the ability of these participants to make personal and community-enhancing employment changes.
This project was also a research project that provided the opportunity to pilot new ‘blended’ models of service delivery in communities, including coaching and mentoring and the use of resource networks to support self-directed learners in the knowledge economy. Thus, the project was inter-disciplinary to accommodate a variety of partners, for example in community development, the arts, health and social services, and other sectors.
Despite the presence of numerous organizations and agencies devoted to increasing employability within the population, there has yet to emerge a clear methodology for delivering this type of support (coaching and mentoring, the use of resource networks, and training in self-directed learning) to rural and remote areas. There is thus an opportunity to draw on the knowledge base of the various groups involved to form a set of best practices for service delivery.
The project also provided the opportunity for organizations to receive support from a non-partisan sponsor (3ci) in the collaborative development of such a methodology. The Centre was meant to provide the resources for shared content design, development, and delivery in local pilot projects. It could also conduct research and evaluation of methodological approaches used and on project results.