Windmill Insight Solutions Ltd (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2012 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Pages: 1083-1092
ISBN: 978-84-616-0763-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 5th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 19-21 November, 2012
Location: Madrid, Spain
There is increasing recognition that many young people lack the business and employability skills that employers require. This contributes to rising youth unemployment. Learning business and employability skills in English can help address this. The abstract shows a practical way helping young students learn business and employability skills while enhancing their ability to work in English.

The project was a pilot English language entrepreneurship course for 16-18 year old vocational students run for Kainuu Vocational College (KAO) by Windmill Insight Solutions Ltd (WIS). The objectives for KAO were to give students the chance to practice working in English while learning business and employability skills in a cost effective manner.

The challenge was to teach entrepreneurship to 16-18 year old vocational students in English in a five day block while maintaining alignment to Finnish curricula.

The solution was a very visual and interactive course based on students undertaking a practical project which used business and employability skills to work on a real local issue. The issues selected for study were increasing the number of UK visitors and the value of Russian visitors to the local area.

The project was developed over 15 months by Bob Windmill, MD of WIS, and KAO. KAO’s Head of International Affairs involved KAO staff in the development process and ideas and materials were exchanged using emails and phone calls.

The course was delivered in May 2012 by Bob Windmill with only minor delivery issues. It was well received by stakeholders and the assessment process showed clear differences between the students with marks ranging between 49% and 92%.

The outcomes:

The students liked Bob’s relaxed teaching and English speaking style, and that entrepreneurship topics were linked to real local issues. KAO were happy as they had enhanced their reputation for innovative thinking and Bob was happy that he had developed and piloted an effective way of teaching business and employability skills in a range of situations. The Finnish National Board of Education liked the project so much that they asked Bob to present the project at their international conference in Tallinn in November 2012.

Learning points:
The key learning point was that the approach of using a practical project to help students learn business and employability skills while working in English worked well.

KAO also noted that it was significantly cheaper to run a project like this than to find English language placements for the students.

The pilot also established that this approach can also help higher level students learn business and employability skills effectively. WIS developed the matrix below to show some examples:

- Subject+English=Where applicable
- Basic+Basic=Schools, groups from disadvantaged backgrounds
- Basic+Intermediate=Classes emphasising “Working English” skills
- Intermediate+Intermediate=College/vocational situations
- Intermediate+Advanced=Undergraduate with international aims, aspiring managers
- Advanced+Advanced=Post graduate students, experienced international managers

WIS note that they develop such solutions for any situation. The approach is completely flexible in terms of learning objectives, delivery modes, teaching styles, learning outcomes and assessment.

This pilot was considered very successful by the stakeholders in that it delivered KAO’s requirements and showed that the approach is more widely applicable.
Business, employability, young people, unemployment, unemployed, practical, teaching, learning, flexible, tailored.