Generation Neither-Nor: any solution in order to motivate them?

Silvia Martínez Martínez and Marta Olmo Extremera4.bis._Generation_Neither_Silvia_picture

Andalusian Federation of Junior Enterprises (FJESUR) and Spanish Confederation of Junior Enterprises (CEJE)

Nowadays, Spain faces one of its worst recessions, being very difficult for jobseekers to find an occupation. No other country in Europe has so many young people out of work: almost 37 percent of people under 25 and a quarter of those under 30 (Der Spiegel 27.09.2011).

It is amazing how young people are not motivated neither to study a Degree nor working because they cannot get excited about it. It is like a zero generation: zero jobs, zero prospects… Teenagers think seriously why they should go to the University if they are going to be unemployed… So, thousands of them are currently without motivation: they don’t want to study and it is hard to find a job. Why don’t we try to find a motivation for them?
In this paper, we are going to present an initiative that was born in France in the last 60s. This is not a solution, but at least is a way that helps the students to find a stimulus and why not to create his/her own business.

First of all, we must define this kind of initiative called Junior Enterprises (hereafter JE). As JADE (European Confederation of Junior Enterprises) defines it, a JE is a local non-profit organization entirely managed by students who want to get practical experience during their studies by developing their own professional projects, experiencing unique learning opportunities in the real business world. This is an opportunity for students to develop self- confidence and experience in entrepreneurship at an early stage in their universities studies, to add, as I mentioned before, practical experience to the theoretical skills and to provide private business with state-of-the-art of knowledge from universities.
Due the particularity of the Junior Enterprise work, the students distinguish themselves, by their soft skills, such as entrepreneurial spirit, team-working, creativity, presentation skills, public speaking, networking, intercultural understanding, work experience and project management.
As everybody can see, it is a good proposal. The JE are growing all around Europe. In Spain we already have 30 of them about different specialties: Translation and Interpreting, IT, Communication, Pedagogy… But if we compare it with other countries such as France, we can see that we are poor in this area, maybe because we have a conservative attitude towards entrepreneurship. But why?

One of the main obstacles could be the Education, because it is still the most important issue for promoting entrepreneurship. Such a thing is not included in the national curriculum of primary and secondary education and it is very hard to implement it in the universities.
Now, in Spain have been undertaken some policy measures at this level with the development in elementary education and in universities (JE). So, we could say that there is a political, social and intellectual change that favors the modifications in entrepreneurial norms and values. Luckily, the spread of information is rising and sensitizing society to entrepreneurship.
While the government takes care about the Entrepreneurship education, the University teachers, in our case, have to motivate their students to find an inspiration to finish their universitary studies and find a work or create themselves their own business. Also the figure of the teacher can generate an entrepreneurial culture in his/her classes. We think that the teacher should open his/her mind and not only teach theory, they should transmit values and attitudes.
Why is an effective way to motivate students to reach a goal? Should the use of academic expectations be employed to involve students in goal-setting and in generating a kind of sense of personal excitement for new ideas? We think that if teachers set a goal, this could be a target to aim not only graduated people that are experts in a theme, but people who apply their knowledge to the real business world. In this case, the teacher may be called “leader”. Being a leader is a complex task. According to Goleman (2002) there are five steps in order to be a leader:

  1. 1. Who are you and who do you want to be.Who you are as a teacher, how you act, how you transmit the knowledge and how you want to transmit it.
  2. Know your weaknesses and strengths.
  3. Turn your weaknesses into strengths.
  4. Create habits.
  5. Be open to receive feedback from the people.

At the to have in their lives. In other words, they must try to generate excitement and freedom in their decisions.
As Linskie (1977) pointed out, motivation is generally described as a desire to achieve a goal that has value for the individual. So, this is a process which leads students into experiences in which they can learn, that energizes and activates them. Enthusiasm also keeps them focused on a specific task and helps to fulfill their needs for immediate achievement and a sense of moving toward larger goals. It is true that students are interested in the things that they have planned themselves and the work much harder on self-made goals than they ever would on expectations of someone else.
It is very effective to motivate the students to grow, therefore let’s state them a goal setting and involve them to establish an objective: THE ENTREPRENEURSHIP.

References Der Spiegel online,1518,638981,00.html [05.11.2011] Goleman, D.; Boyatzis R. and A. Mckee (2002). The emotional reality of teams. Journal of Organizational
Excellence, 21(2), 55-65.


Linskie, R. (1977). The learning process: Theory and practice. D. Van Nostrand Co. New York