UK: Nurturing Future Generations

Last Updated: 25 November 2014
Article by Smith & Williamson

Sherry Coutu set up Founders4Schools (F4S) in 2012. F4S stems from a series of events staged by Silicon Valley Comes to the UK, in which entrepreneurs talked with university students to inspire them to think about starting their own businesses. F4S quickly realised that, to really have an impact, it would have to start earlier and shifted its focus to schools.

How does F4S work?

F4S brings students into contact with job creators by helping teachers invite founders of successful businesses into the classroom. Teachers can enter their school postcode and through partnerships with LinkedIn and DueDil, F4S delivers search results of founders in a 20-mile radius with a minimum turnover of £1m and positive year-on-year growth. Teachers can view profiles of these founders and select those they would like to invite. The service sends invitations directly to founders and monitors and manages these invitations. F4S alerts teachers by email when founders are confirmed for their event. It also automatically generates a website that teachers can share with colleagues and students, which includes profiles of speakers and information on the event.

At each event, business founders speak about what they studied when they were in school, what motivated them to set up their businesses and why they recommend entrepreneurship as a leading career choice.

Why is it so important for children to learn about entrepreneurship?

Research shows that over 50% of jobs created in the UK in the last ten years were created by 6% of companies and that these are small, high-growth companies started by entrepreneurs. These companies report that the prime barrier to increased growth is a shortage of employees who have the skill sets they need.

At the same time, attitudes and cultural references take shape at an early age and students are tracked on the subjects they will study early on. Despite this, schools don't cover entrepreneurship and don't provide exposure to entrepreneurs as role models. Students don't know what entrepreneurship is, why it's relevant and how impactful it can be in their community. As a result, many students are unaware of the skills that are required for the jobs available or don't see themselves as future job creators in the economy.

Why the emphasis on STEM subjects?

There is a huge shortage of employees with STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills in the workforce today and at the same time students don't see the relevance of studying STEM outside of the classroom. F4S events help bring STEM to life by showing students practical applications of STEM and that studying maths or science doesn't mean that you have to work in a lab – if that's not what you want to do – it opens up the door to possibilities in the world of business as well.

How is F4S's work helping to plug the skills gap?

Technology is changing the jobs landscape quickly. The first step in keeping up with that change is showing students what jobs look like today and what they will look like tomorrow, so they're exposed to the possibilities in front of them and can see the different paths they can take to get there – all from role models in their local communities. Our founders show students that it's attainable.

How do entrepreneurs benefit from the experience?

Entrepreneurs that speak at a F4S event are giving back to their communities and often to students at their own schools. They've told us that the events they have spoken at have been personal highlights, providing them with a chance to engage and inspire the next generation of business leaders in the UK.

The Aldridge Foundation is an educational charity founded in 2006 by Sir Rod Aldridge OBE after he left Capita, a FTSE-100-listed company, which he founded. The Foundation helps young people to reach their potential, principally by sponsoring entrepreneurial academy schools and colleges in challenging communities.

Where did the idea for the Aldridge Foundation come from?

My life has been shaped by my ability to take the right kind of risks. I wasn't driven by the thought of failure when I started Capita and I wasn't reluctant to think differently. In my view, resilience, teamwork and creativity are the marks of the genuine entrepreneur. These attributes have helped me every day of my working life. It doesn't matter if you want to set up a company, or work with a group of volunteers to improve your street – an entrepreneurial mindset is a major asset. Every young person can benefit from developing this as they grow up.

How does the Aldridge Foundation work?

We set out to challenge conventional thinking and a culture of low expectations. We believe that, with the right support, there are no limits to what young people can achieve. We are essentially a family of schools joined together by regular networking and sharing lessons learned and best practice with each other.

We're accountable to the Department for Education. The Foundation has a small team of experts supporting our schools in educational improvement, capital programme management, governance, marketing, PR and communications, financial and business planning, as well as entrepreneurship.

Why is it so important for children to learn entrepreneurial skills?

An entrepreneurial mindset gives people the life skills to achieve their goals and take control of their lives. To be 'life ready', 'work ready' and independent. To have a state of mind which strives to solve problems rather than accept defeat. In our academies, entrepreneurship provides context for the learning of core subjects and is integrated into all areas of academy life. We focus on the development of entrepreneurial qualities, including passion, determination, risk-taking, problem-solving, teamwork and creativity.

Entrepreneurship feeds into all lessons in our academies, after school clubs, any rewards system and our work with the broader community. Students get to leave with the qualifications, skills and attributes employers are looking for, or those that will help them to succeed in self-employment.

Is the UK education system doing enough to prepare students for the workforce?

A survey carried out this summer by the Princes Trust and HSBC of 600 business leaders found more than 40% said they were experiencing skills gaps within their firms, while more than half are facing difficulties filling vacancies.

So, there is a problem. Local employers should get more involved with schools in their area by providing work experience and make clear what skills they need.

How is the Aldridge Foundation helping to plug the skills gap?

All our young people are encouraged to display the key characteristics of passion, determination, risk-taking, teamwork, problem solving and creativity. Every school has a 'Creates' centre, a space designed to foster social enterprise, create local business and community links and allow new ideas to develop.

In 2015 we'll be opening two university technical colleges, in partnership with local businesses and universities. One will be in Salford in the heart of the new MediacityUK and the other in Newhaven, Sussex, focusing on marine engineering.

Our new Aldridge Centre for Entrepreneurship, opening in East London in 2015, will give young people the skills they need to be self-employed or run their own businesses.

Can you share some notable success stories?

The Foundation has been recognised with several awards, including Academy Sponsor of the Year (British Council for School Environments) and Academy Provider of the Year (EducationInvestor).

The following two examples demonstrate the success we're having. Brighton Aldridge Community Academy has the highest rates of progress by its students of any school in Brighton and is highly placed nationally. Darwen Aldridge Community Academy has been recognised as the seventh most-improved school in the country over the last three years by SSAT. Since opening its sixth form, students have progressed to many leading UK universities, including Oxford.

We have taken great care to ensure the accuracy of this newsletter. However, the newsletter is written in general terms and you are strongly recommended to seek specific advice before taking any action based on the information it contains. No responsibility can be taken for any loss arising from action taken or refrained from on the basis of this publication. © Smith & Williamson Holdings Limited 2014. code 14/1018 exp: 31/03/15

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions