Young, enterprising and self-taught



Gone are the times when students, in high school, took notes and learned only what was in books. For almost a decade, the internet – and the possibility of sharing knowledge with the other side of the world – has revolutionized the way they learn and the networks have become a stimulus for them, their ambition and their knowledge. The new generations, accustomed to immediacy and to be transmitters through channels that they dominate, know, better than ever, that ingenuity and knowledge can help them develop their passion and their entrepreneurial vocation. And when the time comes to decide what to study, they wonder if the educational system is capable of accompanying them and providing them with more than what is already standard.

“I would like to study something more practical, real, short … The world of work has many things that I like and I would like to touch fields that do not deal with a career, which is more general, and do it in less time, I do not want to spend four years giving detours to issues that are not useful for my life, ”explains Ana Pastor (@soyanaplatano), a first-year student of Audiovisual Communication. She is a mature girl, a good and restless student who, already in high school, was dedicated to fashion. She did it in a self-taught way, like so many, and looked for a career that could help her in her endeavor. He says that he would have missed a wider range of options. Now she works for a modeling agency that represents her and is about to leave her career in search of another training plan. “I love studying, I am passionate about learning, but to attend classes that are not interesting, I prefer to look for something else.”

Possible improvements

He regrets the lack of information available at school and “that at school the discourse is almost always directed to the University, not to professional training or specific courses and degrees … Other paths”, and denounces that the world of work “Establish as a barrier having a university degree, whatever it may be, even if it has nothing to do with the work you are going to do,” says Pastor, who clarifies: “Obviously I’m talking about professions in the social branch, the scientific ones are something else. And he wonders: “How many people study a degree and then dedicate themselves to something completely different that they discover that they like it and start looking for a life on their own?”

It is the same dilemma that Álvaro López poses (with almost 57,000 followers on his Instagram account), who studies second in the degree in Digital Design at U TAD. “I have colleagues who are doing what they are passionate about now after starting a race or two earlier.” He loves hers: “I couldn’t study something that wasn’t very visual. I have been self-taught because in high school they do not teach you any of this and you have to find your life, investigate and train on your own. And these studies [los de la U TAD] they are the best way that your hobbies and your studies can be complemented, with teachers who constantly help you and support you in your talents ”.

He began to undertake at the age of 16 because he was passionate about the world of photography. His network of contacts has helped him grow and better target the type of snapshots he wanted to take. Now their teachers help too. “I apply a lot of the knowledge in my Tik Tok.” From their school, a specialist in forming digital profiles, they emphasize that their students are usually “people with a high motivational level, entrepreneurs, passionate about art and design”, highlights Vanessa Ruiz, academic coordinator of the degree studied by López.

New channel

For them, “social networks are a new channel for the dissemination of art, science and culture and a very powerful weapon of connection with the world, products and services can be marketed … We understand that they must be integrated into university education,” he says, and He adds that at school “we give them knowledge and tools to fit into the business fabric, to be autonomous people, with initiative and an entrepreneurial spirit”. What seems evident is that this type of person like Ana or Álvaro fit the definition of entrepreneurs: they bet on their project and looked for the formulas to make it possible.

But the traditional, more rigid educational system, at the moment does not respond to these concerns, both for the spheres of influence and for the entrepreneurship of young people who are already on that path, they have to be found in their own degrees or very specialized schools. In fact, according to the entrepreneurial expert Pablo Santaeufemia, “academic institutions insist that students do not undertake and this is not true,” insists the founder of Bridge for Millions, an accelerator for start-ups that works more democratically than the traditional ones and collaborates with universities.

In his opinion, in Spain only a few schools really support young people to undertake. Give some names: “Mondragón Team Academy, IE, ESADE or Camilo José Cela, and the Polytechnic of Madrid, have a good approach to entrepreneurship, but in Spain it is not frequent”. “We know that students do undertake because they join our programs. The problem is that it seems that the system is not interested in teaching entrepreneurship because they see it as a risk and families try to get their children to discard the idea. And although I have seen a great change in mindset in the last decade, it still remains. And we are late ”.

The entrepreneur Verónica Jiménez Folcrá directs the Higher Degree in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at ESIC and she emphasizes that this type of studies on entrepreneurship must be very practical. “In Spain there is no learning by doing training [literalmente, aprender a través de la práctica], so to share the successes. Many have already started before entering, but here they will end up registering as freelancers and from the very beginning they already present their projects, made by multidisciplinary teams, to large companies ”, highlights the founder of the start-up WomanCard.

Some colleges and institutes try to be agile. Although, in the opinion of Santaeufemia, the educational system is not prepared to instill the value of entrepreneurship, “much less with purpose.” “It is more important that you know dates and historical facts of the Catholic Monarchs than to find your reason for in life. The system does not ask you that question and, furthermore, philosophy has less and less weight, and this is evident in the way it works, in the priorities… ”. Ana Pastor studied at the Claret school in Madrid. From there, its coordinator, Andrés Lagar, explains what the Economics subject is for: “So that many students realize that what they see as a game begins to work. Some channel their hobby and excel. They are determined, cultured, educated students. They teach us that we have to bet more on audiovisual culture and self-training ”.

They also have examples of this type in the Zola schools in Madrid. “And not always in high school, much younger,” highlights the director of innovation, Juan González. “A first year primary student has his own YouTube channel doing challenges, games, another first year ESO from third year wrote his blog and has a YouTube channel.” As he explains, from school they work with them the responsibility of social channels and emotional thinking to learn to live in virtual worlds; the counselors work with them the challenges “of the profitable use of the networks, bringing them closer to reality”. Among his students with more projection is “an entrepreneur from the second year of high school, who has set up three companies.”

Good dividends

He is also earning “more money than his parents”, as jokes Pablo Muriel, head of orientation at Colegio Base, a young man who competes from his room in e-sports. “There are a lot of students who make real money doing what they love. From the schools and from the families we underestimate their effort, we think that they paint the monkey and they are discovering, learning … They are a generation that is not afraid of anything, who do not follow the normal paths either. But parents are the clients, and they are the ones who show them the way. Our message, in these cases, can only be to encourage them to do things that they like and make them happy so that they do not start studies that they will later leave ”.

And as the educational system has shown that it is not always capable of responding to students’ concerns or being as agile and flexible as digital life, there are companies that have taken the initiative, setting up their own degrees and training. The case of Google was notorious when it announced, not so long ago, that it would set up its own school. As Marta Nicolás, co-founder of SamyRoad, specializing in influencer marketing, recalls, “Apple, Google and Starbucks no longer require a university degree for certain positions. A Google official said recently that there are professionals, extraordinary human beings, without university studies who are able to break through. We have the same philosophy and we are looking for skills, more than specific people ”. They, specialists in connecting and helping visual entrepreneurs, define them as people “with a thirst for constant learning and a flexible and changing spirit … They have something different.” In his opinion, “they must professionalize this potential and learn to monetize their content, training in their passion and get to work as soon as possible.”

His colleagues from Peoople, from the same sector, emphasize that “training is essential”, in the words of the CEO, David Pena, who removes the idea that only with an image and a good network strategy can be undertaken, succeed and earn money. “You have to be good at everything, the main thing and the accessory. It is naive to think that launching something technically good guarantees you success ”. They recommend having knowledge “in business management and the sector on which they communicate.” Something that, they insist, “is not usually based on a training that can be obtained through a traditional formal training.”

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