By Daniel Hunter

A survey of over 1,000 UK parents has found that the majority of parents believe it’s their responsibility, first and foremost, to prepare their children for the work environment.

The survey, carried out by AXA Business Insurance, found that 63 per cent of respondents agreed that getting their children ready for the employment market is their responsibility, rather than that of schools, other adults, or the children themselves.

In preparing their children for their first job, parents also agreed that establishing a strong work ethic is the most important characteristic for a successful future, whereas encouraging a sense of creativity and developing problem solving skills proved less important to parents.

With recent figures published by the Department for Education showing that one in six young people in England aged 16 to 24 are not engaged in any education, training or employment, particularly in the 16 to 18 year old bracket, AXA is actively encouraging parents to support their children in following entrepreneurial pursuits.

The AXA survey found that parents are quite proactive in their approach to instilling a strong work ethic at a young age, with 59 per cent suggesting they had, or were planning to organise, some form of work experience for their children.

Parents also get their children to help around the home through assigning chores and giving children responsibilities from a young age. These included: tidying their room (81 per cent), laying or clearing the dinner table (66 per cent), emptying rubbish or recycling bins (53 per cent) and doing the washing up (50 per cent), amongst other household tasks.

“In an increasingly competitive job market, it’s never too early to start equipping children with the social and business skills they’ll need for future success," Darrell Sansom, Managing Director, Direct and Partnerships at AXA Business Insurance commented.

"By teaching children the essential values of a strong work ethic early on, parents can arm their children with a greater chance of entrepreneurial success, irrespective of whether they go on to formal higher education or not.”

As evidenced by the recent RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce) study on enterprise, today’s 18 — 29 years olds are far more interested in starting their own businesses than has been the case in the past. AXA believes that in order for these ambitions to become realities, the young entrepreneurs of the future will need to posses certain values and skill sets, which are most readily learnt in the home environment.

“The UK has always maintained a truly entrepreneurial spirit and I believe this has actually been strengthened throughout the downturn as individuals have been forced to think more critically about their career paths in light of a depressed economy," Sansom continued.

"Increasingly, we’re seeing the number of new businesses being launched coming from a younger generation, whose courage and energy can only help them in their endeavors. That said, there are a few core fundamentals of running a successful business, large or small, that remain unchanged, so it’s important for any young entrepreneur to take in as much advice, mentoring and support as they can to build their management skill sets.”

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