THERE is no denying that Scotland is ambitious for the future. Politicians of all persuasions are united in their desire to elevate us, harness our skills and talents, and secure our place on the global stage. The abundance of plans and strategies led by the National Strategy for Economic Transformation (NSET) and designed to take us forward as an enterprise nation is evidence of that.

But have we really faced up to the challenge of sustainable change? Change that starts and grows with young people?

If every young person, regardless of their background, academic record or additional support needs is to be genuinely included in our collective transformational plan, grow in aspiration and develop the mindset needed, then there is still work to do.

Enterprise education that delivers practical learning in teamwork, communication and problem-solving can enhance the learning experience across all curriculum areas and improve confidence, engagement, behaviours and indeed aspiration. Providing these programmes for our schools and colleges must be a priority.

As a charitable organisation working across all local authorities, we have no difficulty convincing young people of the joy and advantages of enterprise learning. In the last academic year, we guided 24,000 young people through our enterprise and financial learning programmes. Of these, 1576 young people took part in one of Young Enterprise Scotland’s accredited programmes that can lead to a qualification in entrepreneurial skills. But this is only the tip of the iceberg.

In today’s economic climate, financial education is more urgent than ever. Not just "maths", but financial awareness, good decision-making, resilience, curiosity – our young people need and deserve these skills as a bare minimum. We know that immersive learning in school finds its way into homes and the more we can introduce money skills at an early age, the more our young people can be prepared for what lies ahead.

At the same time, the mental health and wellbeing of young people have taken an absolute kicking in the last few years leading to disruption at school, but with the principles of inclusion and diversity championed by enterprise, it is our belief that everyone can be supported through practical learning experiences, spark innovation and success.

We should have enterprise education by default, not because of the energy and passion of individual teachers. It should not be an "add-on" if there is time, or subject to a postcode lottery, but part of a consistent and constant cultural shift towards enterprise that requires both leadership and resources.

There is no doubt that the young people of Scotland are at the heart of meeting the aims and objectives of the likes of NSET successfully. If there is collective support to really harness the potential of young people, raise aspirations and foster ambition for all, then we really will be on our way to creating sustainable change.

Emma Soanes is Chief Executive, Young Enterprise Scotland