A Europe-wide project has been launched to boost awareness of the co-operative model among the next generation of entrepreneurs.
The YOUCOOPE programme will train teachers on the significant benefits of co-operative entrepreneurship and boosting its incorporation into the curriculum at secondary and university level.
It is led by Santander International Entrepreneurship Centre (CISE) and with a support budget of more than €230,000 (£207,000) thanks to co-finance from the European Commission.
The UK’s Co-operative College will play a key role in the 18-month programme, developing training resources alongside eight institutions from Belgium, UK, Italy, Spain and Wales.
Building on the success of the previous ECOOPE European project, the scheme will see a focus on blended-learning and implementation of the train the trainer methodology.
New resources will include a free online course, downloadable content and face-to-face sessions for teachers across both education levels. All materials developed by YOUCOOPE will reference the EntreComp European Framework for the development of entrepreneurial skills (supported by the European Commission) ensuring that essential soft skills, such as communication and listening, are developed to prepare the participants for the future world of work.
Dr Sarah Alldred, international programme manager at the Co-operative College, said: “Following the success of the ECOOPE project, we’re delighted to once again partner with a number of institutions from across Europe for this new project, spreading the understanding of co-operatives to new audiences thanks to a brand new suite of learning materials. We know that the co-op model offers people the opportunity to run an ethical business that benefits not only those who work in them, but also the wider community too, and look forward to inspiring future generations of entrepreneurs to choose the model to achieve their ambitions.”
In its first stage, YOUCOOPE will significantly boost digital capacity in both secondary and university educators through a MOOC on entrepreneurial education and cooperativism. It is hoped that by utilising this technology, the project will reach a large group of teachers in at least five European countries, with Spain and Italy highlighted as priority benficiaries.
Following this online training, four face-to-face pilot experiences in both countries will be carried out, complementing the learning and reinforcing the methodologies that need to be applied.
The resources generated during the project will also encourage educational institutions to look for collaboration with existing co-operatives in their local area, offering young people the opportunity to see the co-operative model in action and understand the benefits that it brings to the local area.