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Claudia Harris, Chief Executive of the Careers & Enterprise Company, spoke at the FSB’s second policy conference on why young entrepreneurs were being held back and how the Company was working to bridge the gap between schools and employers.

Ms Harris told the conference that despite the reluctance among schools and employers to work more closely together, there was “a huge opportunity to better bridge the two worlds of education and employment.”

She said: “There are 700,000 published vacancies, a quarter of them related to the skills shortage, and yet youth unemployment is still three times the national average. Every young person leaving school today will need to be an entrepreneur and the majority of them will work for a small firm. 

“Even those who will not work for a smaller business will change jobs multiple times in their career. However, employers tell organisations, such as the FSB, that young people do not have the entrepreneurial characteristics to succeed in the workforce.” 

Ms Harris said the Company was working to address these challenges through its Enterprise Adviser network, by building up its evidence base and scaling up tried and tested programmes across the country that help young people through its investment fund. 

Watch Claudia Harris giving her speech at the conference