Talking of Young Entrepreneurs and Young Soldiers – CELEB YOUTH blogs

CelebYouth is certainly a web site to follow. In the last week a couple of guest blogs speak to pressing issues in both youth work and the wider sphere of work with young people.

Given the increasing influence of the market on our work and the consequent rise of the young entrepreneur/adviser milieu the first piece, ‘Young Entrepreneurs : money-making for the nation’s benefit’, questions “the assumption that entrepreneurial ambitions are unequivocally good.” The authors, Anita Biressi and Heather Nunn, quote the Peter Jones Foundation’s “campaign to put enterprise at the heart of the education system … it seeks to encourage people to make it in Britain and to live their dream. It does this through inspiring excellence through a network of enterprise academies where passion, self-belief and ‘go-getting’ attitudes are nurtured.”  Forgive me I didn’t know the said Peter Jones is the multimillionaire backer of the tv programme, Dragons Den, but I do believe this ideology of self-obsessed, possessive individualism is infecting informal as well as formal education.

In the second blog, Hang Out or Shape Up, Laura takes up the theme of the militarisation of education, drawing on her own experience as a cadet. She quotes a revealing comment from Michael Gove.

‘Your son says he wants to spend more time with one particular group of friends. Which would be more inspiring – because he wants to improve his pool or because they’re in the cadets and he wants to join?’

She ends by suggesting that

“Gove’s rhetoric shows that the government’s interest in cadet forces isn’t about ‘opportunities’. By focusing on the ‘need’ for military discipline in ‘failing’ schools and among ‘failing’ youth, Gove reinforces his attack on teachers and young people as ‘deficient’, directing attention away from the heavy impact of cuts to youth services and welfare, and presenting his vision of education as a place where young people learn to be compliant, rather than critical, members of society.”

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