The importance of teachers as mentors and role models for students

Juergen Siebel, Head of International Business, Siemens Professional Education

The European Commission has said that every young person should have a practical entrepreneurial experience before they finish school. As entrepreneurship education is yet to be embedded in the national education strategy of each member nation we need to look at teachers as important crusaders for this important objective.

Teachers play a very important role in shaping students’ future career choices, as well as their attitude and spirit. However, before teachers can act as mentors for their students, it is important that they themselves are informed about the variety of jobs available, skills needed and professional training opportunities.

Developing a more entrepreneurially oriented community

Teachers don’t have the responsibility to create entrepreneurs, but entrepreneurially-minded young people that will be able to tackle the new societal challenges and transform their communities as entrepreneurs or intrapreneurs. In order for teachers to step up to the challenge investments need to be made in their preparation as well – they need support for content that can be delivered in the classroom, programmes that ignite their students’ entrepreneurial spirit, innovative teaching methods and professional training that will help them develop new skills.

A bridge between skills needed on the labour market and what traditional education can offer

Young people have a difficult task when looking towards their future professional life – they are preparing for jobs that have not been invented yet, they step into a very uncertain labour market and the traditional school system doesn’t always give them the appropriate skills they need to succeed. Teachers are the ones that can play a vital role in pointing students in the right direction, but they also need to be up to date with what is needed on the labour market.

Being in touch with the business environment is very useful for teachers! Therefore Siemens keeps a very close and constant collaboration with almost 100 schools in Germany with its “partner school program”. The program provides teachers and students with a variety of technical and economical projects and activities to increase interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and entrepreneurial subjects that better prepare young people for their later work life.

The impact for both sides is clear:

  • Teachers/Education: greater understanding and knowledge about the working world and the skills needed in a specific industry/field;
  • Business/Industry: learn about the needs, requests and ideas of teachers and schools.

Informed and prepared teachers is essential for a smooth walk on the career path of young people from education to employment.

Category : entrepreneurship education, education, teacher role Posted : 14 October 2015 11:26 UTC
About the Author
Juergen Siebel, Head of International Business, Siemens Professional Education


Couldn't agree more with the strong case Juergen makes here in support of more and better support for teachers. Siemens has been a leader in how business can play a role in this. Teachers are the critical success factor if we want to build students' entrepreneurial competences as well as use more entrepreneurial learning tools and methods in all subject area.
Caroline Jenner
Caroline Jenner 2015-10-14 12:01 Reply
Thanks to Juergen Siebel, a voice from business, for reminding us that teachers are pivotal for ensuring the next generation(s) of school leavers are equipped with new skill set to ensure success in the labour market. Juergen underlines that to meet this challenge teachers need to be prepared.

While governments are responsible for ensuring the right calibre of teacher to meet the demands of labour market readiness, a helping hand from the private sector will be important. The Siemens example, involving 100 schools in Germany, is good. But if every pupil/student is to get a fair crack at the job market in terms of being prepared by the education system, all teachers in all schools across across Europe will need a similar type of investment/support framework? How can this be achieved? Do we have examples of where business and government have co-worked teacher development beyond a project-type operation and involving a system-wide reform plan? If not, would that be possible? No one business partner could meet up to the challenge but would a collective of business partners work?

Of course, the above ideas assume that the teaching communities (not just individual teachers or schools) would agree to such an initiative. Would they? How are they or how would they be engaged? Do we have examples of effective consultation and engagement with the teaching community at national level (if we're talking about system solutions as opposed to project solutions) to bring forward entrepreneurship education?
Anthony Gribben
Anthony Gribben 2015-10-15 15:02 Reply
on reading your blog my 1st thought was one of envy - what a great programme to have such a big name on board.
The key issues to my mind are to expand such a scheme to afford all pupils,especially those who are not interested beforehand? to harvest the best experiences of teachers & pupils?
I look forward to discussing how we can use the HUB to use such practice.
Frank Hennessey
Frank Hennessey 2015-10-15 18:35 Reply

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