3. Developing entrepreneurial skills

In the previous activities, your pupils have found out more about work and employment through group work and have also heard life experiences of people who are employed or earn a living.

In the Key Activity, you give pupils the opportunity to be involved in a task that will extend their skills and which they might be able to use to gain an income.

Case Study 3 shows how one teacher set up a mini-enterprise to give her pupils experience of work and employment.

Case Study 3: Using local recycled materials to sew and make an income

Mrs Maingi is a vocational skills teacher in a primary school in a small town in Kenya. Near the school there are three tailoring shops. The area around the tailoring shops was littered with small pieces of cloth that the tailors had thrown away. Mrs Maingi and her class thought that they could use the pieces of cloth to make useful items during their needlework lessons. She asked the tailors to collect all the pieces of cloth for her instead of throwing them away.

Mrs Maingi used the cloth to teach the pupils how to sew. They cut, neatly hemmed and stitched them to make handkerchiefs, scarves and small tablecloths. Since most of the pupils did not have a handkerchief or scarf, each pupil was given one. The rest of the handkerchiefs and the small tablecloths were sold at very reasonable prices in school and the village.

One boy and one girl were chosen to record how much money they were paid. They also had to pay for the needles and threads they used. The profit was used to buy sugar to put into their porridge. The pupils were very happy because there was no more littering from the tailors and they could now take porridge with sugar.

Key Activity: Working for our school

It is now time to put all your pupils’ knowledge about work and employment to the test by doing an activity that will benefit the school or home. Resource 3: Barrina Primary School, Kenya, school garden gives an example of a school in Kenya making a garden to provide food and sell surplus as part of a project.

  • Discuss and identify activities that they can do as projects to help them develop skills, while at the same time being beneficial to the school/home. Decide together which are the two best ideas to carry out. Examples could be: making baskets, mats, ropes or brooms, or collecting plastic bags and bottles for recycling. The kind of activity will depend on the context of the school.
  • Pupils choose to work on one of the two selected projects. You will need to help them in planning their project and collecting the resources. Local experts and other community members could help and advise you on what to do.
  • Discuss with the pupils what they can do with the products they get from their project (whether they can be used in school, at home or possibly sold to make money).
  • Discuss with the pupils the usefulness of their projects and the skills they have developed.
  • You might want to plan a day to sell some of your goods and use the profits to buy things that would benefit the whole class.
  • Point out to the pupils that the activities they do both at home and in school as work can help them develop skills that they can use to gain employment in the future.

2. Exploring different kinds of work

Resource 1: Ways of earning money – Mr Petrus’ class list