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Opportunity Knocks.

People learn better by doing, than by any amount of listening to theory, claim psychological reports.

And working the Barras or Parkhead Forge Market also overcomes any suspicion that entrepreneurship is for wimps.

Harry Clark, boss of the Enterprising Young People project run by Glasgow's East End Partnership knew that one of his biggest battles to get the scheme going was simply to bring people on board.

Youngsters on the fringes of the labour market may have poor qualifications and skills, as well as a sketchy employment record.

Low expectations of themselves and others can foster deep cynicism - which peer group pressure can turn into a vicious circle of non-achievement.

To hit the mark, the Enterprising Young People scheme had to have street cred, and be relevant to the prospects and skills of the East End 16-25 year olds it was targeting.

"There is a lot of enterprise funding around, but most of it does not cover retail," Harry says. "Yet realistically, low-skill service positions or retail are the most likely environments for the people we are targeting to end up."

Running a market stall helps the East End Partnership team to introduce business concepts in a way that's easily understood and relevant.

And for some participants, the challenge restores confidence in their own abilities that previous disappointments have destroyed.

Celia Devenney, 19, who is pictured on the front page of Recruitment Record this week, had only six months' YTS experience to her name when her boyfriend suggested her for the scheme.

Less than a year later, Celia is in a very different position and taking charge of her own fortunes. She works three days a week on her own cosmetics stall at Parkhead Forge Market, but says it is easily a full-time job to manage her books and arrange her stock over the other days.

"I always had it in the back of my mind to start my own business," Celia says. "But I thought you needed money.

"This definitely beats working in a shop. I had flu last week and if I had been working for someone else I would just have phoned in sick.

"But since I am working for myself, I never even considered staying off. It's given me a real sense of responsibility."

This is the main aim of the East End Partnership scheme.

If, like Celia, participants find their niche in retailing then that's all well and good, but Harry Clark is quick to point out that very often the young participants have to learn everything from the importance of good time-keeping upwards.

For many, the scheme is just a powerful way of getting the message across that there are still opportunities for people to use their skills, and perhaps to stimulate their appetites for further training in a completely different field.

The biggest lesson is that to be successful, participants need to commit.

After initial training, they will largely be left to themselves to run their market stalls, having been given a cash loan to buy stock. But their success depends on the amount of energy and creativity they are willing to put in.

Enterprising Young People is for any East End resident between 16 and 25 who might want to start their own business.

They don't need to be unemployed and can even be in full-time education. They also don't need to come armed with an advanced idea for their business, as help will be given in exploring all those angles.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the kinds of assistance available should phone Harry Clark at the East End Partnership on 0141-554 8656.

Making Your Dreams Come True

Scott McMahon, 19, from Easterhouse, left school without even an exam pass in English - suprising because reports usually complained he used too much of the language - by talking in class.

He's not even 20 and is well advanced with plans to open his own shop, and is currently negotiating with shopfitters about the right price and look for his planned business.

He has given up his own job and started a fast-track business course at Reid Kerr College in Paisley.

Scott says he has always wanted to run his own business and was eventually pointed in the direction of the East End Partnership, where he and his friend Chris gained direct business experience at the Barras just before Christmas.

He admits it was a learning experience. They set up a stall and by Christmas Eve had sold every last item of stock.

Scott's teachers would not be surprised to learn that Scott put up a poster saying: "Teletubby toys all sold out" - on a stall which had never had a whiff of them.

But with help from the East End Partnership, Scott has researched his suppliers, worked out his costs and his margins and is well on his way to securing the funding he needs to open his first shop.

"This has always been my dream and then I found out I could actually make it a reality. The sceptics say I will never do it, and I am determined to prove them wrong."
COPYRIGHT 1998 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1998 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Calder, Marjorie
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Feb 19, 1998
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