Entrepreneurship skills are undeniably important for contemporary society, especially for teachers who shape new generations and have a great influence on their prospective career and quality of life. Although each year new entrepreneurship-related initiatives can be spotted in Poland, still not all teachers, teacher educators or students are lucky enough to participate in workshops or courses aiming at developing entrepreneurship-related skills. At a first glance one could think that such trainings are only for inhabitants of big cities and teacher educators from large, recognisable universities who seem to be more aware of their importance. It is, however, a misconception. We present you an example of an entrepreneurial municipialiy on a smaller size.
Wilamowice is a small municipiality of an urban-rural character around the area of Bielsko-Biała, where people mainly are employed at local factories, make their living from farming or work at Bielsko-Biała or other Silesian cities. The municipiality comprises the town Wilamowice and 5 villages: Pisarzowice, Dankowice, Hecznarowice, Stara Wieś i Zasole Bielańskie.
Local authorities and people organising the work of local teachers, thanks to European funds they skilfully apply for, create many opportunities for inhabitants of the municipality. Those opportunities revolve around the development of students and teachers and making the life of local people easier. Few examples of those initiatives are creation and participation in a project protecting people against digital exclusion thanks to which free Internet and hardware is delivered to some people. School in Hecznarowice, thanks to some teachers (including UBB graduates) and local authorities (especially the head of School and Kindergarten Management Association – Zakład Obsługi Szkół I Przedszkoli), created opportunities for kids from the municipiality participating in municipal assemblies, workshops connected with effective communication and public speaking. The workshop was carried out by a UBB employee who is the PIETE project partner and who made the participant aware of the importance of communication skills and other skills connected with Entrecomp. The young participants were very active during the workshop, they asked many questions with relation to public speaking issues and competencies important to become successful in professional life. It was apparent that young people want to develop and, if given a hand, they can be very determined and motivated to aim high and develop themselves. The meeting was fruitful enough to give rise to other plans connected with developing skills of the local people. In October 2020, a series of workshops for chosen teachers working in the area of the municipiality will be organised. Some of those workshops will again be carried out by UBB PIETE partner who will train the teachers with relation to public speaking, effective communication and stress management at work. At the same time the idea of PIETE project will be presented and key entrepreneurship competences will be elaborated on. This way teachers will become more aware of the importance of an entrepreneurial mindset and teach better and make young generations of municipiality students aware of competencies they need to develop.
As it can be seen, not only larger cities and largest universities can change the mindset of people and make their world better; also small villages, municipialities and smaller universities can inspire people to develop themselves and broaden their horizons. Thanks to the combination of opportunities created by local authorities, staff at HEIs and teachers and students willing to leave their comfort zone and plunge deep into lifelong learning the development is to be observed, no matter how big or small a given village, town or city is. So, answering the question asked in the title of the post, we must say that a person from a small town doesn’t have fewer opportunities if people involved in their education are open-minded and willing to develop and if that person is motivated enough. With the help of a good, open-minded teacher who is aware of many important competencies that should be trained by young people, one can achieve much, no matter where they live.
Authored by: Anna Wieczorek, University of Bielsko-Biala