This week Ruth Hunter, Partnership and Outreach Manager at the Business and IP centre in the Mitchell Library, Glasgow, talks about the Gorbals Employability and Young Entrepreneurs Hub. The Hub received an award from the Public Library Improvement Fund in 2017.
In 2017 Glasgow Libraries created an Employability and Young Entrepreneurs Hub based in Gorbals Library. The project was financed through the Public Library Improvement Fund and aimed to connect with local teenagers by providing enterprising support.
Through on-site sessions and workshops, delivered by local partners, the Hub helped to increase employability awareness. Young people were offered advice and information as well as supported PC access to support their ongoing progress.
The success of the Hub led to Glasgow Libraries creating a Young Entrepreneur information offer and school programme a year later. The aim of the scheme is to engage with young people aged between 12-18-years-old on enterprise and intellectual property themes in the Gorbals area.
Both the Hub and the Young Entrepreneur and school programme project link well to many themes in Ambition & Opportunity: A Strategy for Public Libraries in Scotland. In particular, Strategic Aim 3: Economic Wellbeing and Strategic Aim 6: Excellent Public Services.
There are also many ties with Curriculum for Excellence and Developing the Young Workforce, Career Education Standard (3-18). Both outline requirements for children and young people to have access to information to support career choices and knowledge of enterprise, entrepreneurship and self-employment as a career opportunity.
Our extensive experience of providing information and support on Intellectual Property Rights put us in a unique position to engage with young people about protecting creativity and inventiveness. Aspects of Glasgow Libraries business online resource collection were also invaluable, enhancing pupils’ research and database interrogation skills.
However, one of the project challenges was deciding what, how and where to engage with a youth audience. As none of the secondary schools serving the Gorbals area are within walking distance of Gorbals Community Library a more direct approach was needed. I decided to deliver in the classroom with collections support from both the school library and local public library. A Young Entrepreneur brand was also created with its own dedicated website and email.
The resulting unit Working for Yourself introduced pupils to the Complete Business Reference Adviser (Cobra), an online business information subscription database which contains factsheets and profiles of different business opportunities.
An early version of the unit was piloted at King’s Park Secondary with feedback from both pupils and staff bring very positive. Working together we developed it into a larger scale unit which could be delivered directly by teachers in the classroom.
Our aim was to create a sustainable resource that can be rolled out across all Glasgow schools, encouraging the widespread use of Cobra and promoting the library service as a provider of business and intellectual property information.
The Young Entrepreneur journey will continue in 2019 as part of the strategy for the Business & Intellectual Property Centre Glasgow which officially opens this Friday.