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Serious business of youth

There are several basic skills that every four-year-old should learn: reading, writing, arithmetic... and how to run a small business.

A new scheme has been launched this week to teach business and entrepreneurial skills to all Welsh pupils, from their very first years at primary school.

The Welsh Development Agency, which worked with ACCAC, the Welsh curriculum authority, to draw up the programme, believes that even pupils not yet able to write their own name can benefit from an introduction to the business world.

Sue Morgan of the WDA said: "It's not about creating young entrepreneurs.

It's about developing skills such as risk management, motivation, communication and lateral thinking.

Local authorities will train teachers in how to incorporate these skills into lesson plans. Projects for primary pupils, for example, will include looking at how to combine items of clothing and manage a stall at the school fete.

At Eveswell primary in Newport, where the scheme was piloted, pupils were asked to make a purse and then decide how much it would cost.

Nine-year-old Rhys Anderson said: "I looked at all the buttons and poppers that I had used, and how much work I'd put in - and I got a couple of jabs with the needle. The pain I went through will make it more expensive."

Catherine Barnett, head of Eveswell, says costing and budgeting are not obvious skills to teach primary pupils.

"This is an opportunity for them to realise that in the world outside school things cost money. We're developing a wider understanding of society and how it works," she said.

Rhys is already putting his new knowledge to practical use.

"Parents need to check if something is good quality before they buy it for their children," he said. "If they give them something and it breaks right away, the children will be heartbroken."

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