About this paper

Appears in:
Page: 4089 (abstract only)
Publication year: 2018
ISBN: 978-84-09-02709-5
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2018.1034

Conference name: 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2018
Location: Palma, Spain

THE IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNITY IN EDUCATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP: THREE CASES FROM THE SOUTH WALES VALLEYS

S.L. Birchley

Toyo Gakuen University (JAPAN)
As rural economies change, governments need to find new strategies for sustaining the communities in these areas. Promoting self-employment and entrepreneurship as a career is one such strategy. The South Wales Valley area of the United Kingdom is home to approximately 30% of the Welsh population. Yet, it suffers from various socio-economic issues and low education and training rates, with 35% of the population having low basic numeracy skills. On the other hand, the concept of community in these small, coal mining villages and its positive effect on production has been well documented.

The Lwyd Valley is home to the administrative region of Torfaen. With almost 90,000 residents, only two and a half hours from London via train and in close proximity to a number of universities, it is an ideal area for investment in skills. The whole of Torfaen is eligible for significant investment funding assistance from the Welsh Government and European sources and many entrepreneurship development initiatives have been implemented over the past ten years. This paper discusses how various policies for entrepreneurship and skills development have been operationalized in this area. Through interviews with key stakeholders, this research shows the impact of policy in three key areas; education, rural development, and entrepreneurship. Three cases are combined to show an overall picture of development in the region.

With regard to the education sector, an argument is made for industry-education collaboration at primary level. A case analysis is presented of Torfaen borough’s first primary school enterprise week. Held in 2017, children from the region’s primary schools developed their own products, marketed them via social media, and sold them at the borough’s indoor market. The challenge encouraged students to gain a greater appreciation of business in general and the transferable skills necessary for success such as design, numeracy, and problem solving. It also garnered greater links between the schools, local community, and local businesses.

In the area of rural development the Local Action Group (LAG) works to create a community culture of entrepreneurship. The Torfaen LAG case provides a solid example of what can be achieved when communities come together to revitalize rural areas but also highlights the challenges in working in this context.

Finally, in the area of entrepreneurship, a case analysis of the Torfaen Effect (TE) is presented. Modelled on the concept of Enterprise Facilitation as a model of community development (Sirolli, 1985), the TE works to support new business owners in the area. The case highlights how TE works with the council’s economy, enterprise and renewal team and the challenges it faces.

Exploring these three cases side-by-side, we can see how entrepreneurship, education and industry are connected through the concept of community within this local area. What constitutes community in these regions is discussed and how that relates to literature in education and business on the importance of community will be debated. The Torfaen area has the potential to be an impactful business gateway to Wales; a place shaped by its heritage and its people. These cases act as a example of how to harness the concept of community in development and entrepreneurship.
@InProceedings{BIRCHLEY2018IMP,
author = {Birchley, S.L.},
title = {THE IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNITY IN EDUCATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP: THREE CASES FROM THE SOUTH WALES VALLEYS},
series = {10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN18 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-09-02709-5},
issn = {2340-1117},
doi = {10.21125/edulearn.2018.1034},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2018.1034},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Palma, Spain},
month = {2-4 July, 2018},
year = {2018},
pages = {4089}}
TY - CONF
AU - S.L. Birchley
TI - THE IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNITY IN EDUCATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP: THREE CASES FROM THE SOUTH WALES VALLEYS
SN - 978-84-09-02709-5/2340-1117
DO - 10.21125/edulearn.2018.1034
PY - 2018
Y1 - 2-4 July, 2018
CI - Palma, Spain
JO - 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN18 Proceedings
SP - 4089
EP - 4089
ER -
S.L. Birchley (2018) THE IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNITY IN EDUCATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP: THREE CASES FROM THE SOUTH WALES VALLEYS, EDULEARN18 Proceedings, p. 4089.
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