San Jose de Calasanz Ikastetxea - Entrepreneurship to Learning

‌This case study was prepared by Rafael Pilar Balparda from San Jose de Calasanz IKASTETXEA, edited by Joseph Tixier from the OECD LEED Programme 


San José de Calasanz is a vocational training centre founded in 1969. We are in Santurtzi, municipality of about 50,000 inhabitants on the left bank of the Nervion River, one of the most populated areas of Metropolitan Bilbao in the Basque Country. We have been training students from 0-65 years for 45 years.

Each year approximately 1,500 students pass through our classrooms, 500 in Compulsory Education (until 16 years) and more than 1,000 studies of initial and vocational training for unemployed people and qualification programs aimed at getting a job. We are professionals working in health, social services and community and business administration and marketing services. We are a private centre of Vocational Training with great tradition in our area of influence.


San José geo


Our area of influence is called "Left Bank of the River Nervión" which includes the municipalities of Barakaldo, Sestao, Portugalete and Santurtzi. It has long been an area of steel and industrial tradition but in the early 80s suffered the "Industrial Restructuring" that especially hit this area generating high rates of unemployment and destruction of the industrial basis. After hard years of economic restructuring the area has been transformed into a service sector-oriented activity, carried away by the spectacular transformation of Bilbao in a city of advanced cultural and tourist services XXI Century economy.

Socio-demographics of our catchment area:

It has traditionally held a networking between these institutions and vocational training centres, allowing us to exchange experiences and share them with the rest of entrepreneurial learning agents.


San José network
Interagency Plan to Support Entrepreneurial Activity in the Basque Country (December 2013)


This network has generated a ferment of programs, institutions and public and private entities working on promotion programs related to the promotion and support of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial culture activities. They have appeared as follows:

To take advantage of the opportunities, one of the barriers which had to be knocked down was the rigidity of educational programs and programmatic developments, being in Vocational Training where it was possible to better adapt to these changes. The ongoing relationship with partner companies and institutions that promote employment, has allowed to know the new personal and professional profile that both companies and society demand in future citizens and establish joint business-government-school programs that have created entrepreneurial training programs within schools.

This profile is considering and even asking for an entrepreneurial role in new professionals and a range of skills and competencies that until recently were only available to entrepreneurs. All of the above programs are pursuing the development of such skills among students to increase their employability. Whether in the future starting businesses and becoming entrepreneurs as if they work for a company as employees, these entrepreneurial skills will be useful for their work and personal development, contributing to the creation of jobs and wealth in our socio-economic environment, especially hard hit by successive industrial restructuring.

In this situation, in San José de Calasanz we made a strategic decision to integrate Enterprise Education a compulsory through career guidance programs for all our students in vocational training ten years ago. Besides all the necessary steps were taken to take advantage of the networking, interagency, public and private institutions in our educational programming including general training and development in cross and entrepreneurial skills for all our students. We had a dual purpose, first to help the appearance of new entrepreneurs and other help to create a more entrepreneurial in both their workplace and personal citizens. They will be responsible for improving our society in a medium and long term.


San José de Calasanz has organized training in companies for our students for over 30 years. We work with more than 400 prestigious companies in our training specialties. This close relationship has allowed us to see first hand the changes that have occurred in the professional profiles that companies seek to hire young people and see what skills are most valuable for the professional development of our students. Professionals who were successful in their professional development had new skills. Academic qualifications were not enough.

There have been major technological and organizational changes in companies in the last ten years. In the context of changes in the profiles that companies value in their employees and a very high unemployment rate. We started to follow the guidelines that both our business partners and their association CONFEBASK had told us that the most valued business workers had. It was not enough to have excellent technical knowledge of the profession. Businesses demand and value teamwork, decision making, communication skills, problem solving, information right use. Traditional education programs did not collect this type of tool in the training of graduates.

The Department of Employment Guidance school has its own team and is contacting companies through company training, differentiated space and resources with the rest of the center at that time took the key decision. We intend to include in the general education curriculum for all Vocational Training Students new active learning methodologies that would put the students in learning environments that allow them not only to acquire the technical knowledge of their profession but also the development of entrepreneurial skills that would increase their chances of finding a quality job or even creating their own business. We also expect that this development would improve their personal and social environment.

This strategic direction was presented to our school headmaster and his team. They decided to go training for teachers in the design, programming and evaluation of these key competencies for the citizen of the future. After a long training period with experts from the best universities of the Basque Country (Deusto, Mondragón, UPV) these seven key competencies were chosen to implement our students through active learning methods:

A series of guides and support manuals for teachers were developed by our teacher´s team. These guides would be useful as a support and consultation in the implementation of active learning methodologies, following the philosophy of Learning by Doing (PBL, projects, entrepreneurship, cases ...) were developed, would allow the practice and development activities which have this kind of skills for all students of the school, since the earliest ages.

The employment and personal and professional development of students is part of our Vision. Therefore we realized it was possible to include these external programs that support entrepreneurs in the official curriculum. So students began to take part in development and dissemination of entrepreneurial culture programs in a compulsory way about 100 hours a year. In addition, these types of programs allowed us collaboration with external entities such as the Basque Government, local development agencies, companies and municipal employment offices. Innovation Agencies which constitute an excellent example of partnership and networking with the aim of promoting entrepreneurship education of our students in their formal education curricula.


San José progress
Professional profile change process at San José de Calasanz


Participating in these programs for Entrepreneurship Education has been given our students the opportunity of carrying out activities such as ideas generation, business plans development, calls for entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship educational, production and sale of products and services in real markets. They have had to implement and further develop all those key competencies that both companies and society demand in future professionals. The aim is not only to create companies, but to allow the development of a new professional and talented entrepreneur, whether they create their own business or work for others, they will be better able to provide value to both the business network and society.

This has enabled us to make a schedule and subsequent evaluation not only of the theoretical content of the professions, but also of their generic skills. Through a simple but powerful key competences evaluation site in which both students and teachers participate, students can get 20% of their final grade all through these entrepreneurial skills, thus providing the official curriculum of our students with much seriousness and importance.

Description of the activity/project

The program to implement strategic thinking and entrepreneurial culture within active methodologies was named "Entrepreneurship to Learning" . It required networking with institutions involved in the reduction of unemployment of the area where we live. We use the following programs as a useful and beneficial methodology for our Vocational Training students and last years of secondary school (14 to 15 years) work. With this our aim is twofold: on the one hand to enable students to think deeply about projects that in the near future could be the basis of their own company and on the other hand, that the students following such programs, could develop a series of entrepreneurial skills such as teamwork, communication skills, problem solving, decision making, and good use of information that give them greater opportunities to set up your company or to find greater personal and professional development and a business extension and enrichment of society in the near future.

The programme involves all students of the school for 40 hours a week, supervised by four teachers dedicated full-time to it. It generates 150 business ideas and creates 20 educational enterprises per year. Participation of all students has been encouraged, and promoted the in the following support programs coordinated by local and regional institutions entrepreneurship:


San José Tknika San José ikasenpresa



San José Tknika group

Development of entrepreneurial skills in the students in vocational education. Students must create their own educational enterprise in teams, manage, manufacture and provide real services, sell their services and products, attend conferences with other companies in other educational centers, sell their products and services in real street fairs in a town chosen every year.



San José DEMA San José Programa enpresari



San José Dema group

Development and promotion of entrepreneurial culture in the Vocational Training students of Biscay.  They organize workshops and maturation entrepreneurship Business Ideas.

In the first phase these workshops are taught and students must pass a second phase where they must develop a Business Plan as professional as possible. They have the help of a specialized external consultant hired by DEMA and meets weekly with students.



San José CleanTech now San José innobasque




San José cleanTech group



San José  Behargintza San José tu idea



San José tu idea group

Encourage and stimulate the citizens of our area of ​​influence to submit business ideas that can be innovative and in the future they can be carried forward to create wealth in this area.



San José BFADFB San José Egin eta Ekin



San José Egin et Ekin group

Encouraging younger students (under 16) to the creation of inventions and business ideas that can be developed by them in the future or by other entrepreneurs.


Our Vocational Training students must attend a compulsory 60-100 hours course called "Training and Employment Guidance" along the academic year which fits perfectly participation in entrepreneurship support programs and dissemination entrepreneurial culture. It is a very suitable context for developing entrepreneurial skills for working and personal life that are so valued by companies in future professionals. All of our students participate in this type of active methodologies

Anchoring of the activity/project in the school

This project is strategic in Calasanz. In order to develop entrepreneurial skills in our students, both to set up their own company and to have more chances of success and personal development when they find a job, all vocational training students take these types of programs. A total of 60 to 100 compulsory hours. Besides, they are also actively involved in the entrepreneurship programs aforementioned, with both public and private external partners. This is a really good example of networking.

Our key competences evaluation site. is the tool to asses students and let them develop their skills, this tool does  not only allow them to acquire their professional skills, but also keeps track of their level of entrepreneurial skills. This evaluation has been performed for the last 4 academic years. Students involved have to evaluate themselves, their peer and their teachers, who eventually have to evaluate all students. Throughout this process students have the opportunity to train and develop all these competences up to the minimum acceptable level in order to succeed in their professional and personal future. At the end of the whole process of development and assessment, students can get up to 20% of their final grades by improving their key and entrepreneurial skills.

Following the coherence of the whole system, these are the same generic skills that companies will evaluate in each student training program, that must be fulfilled to complete their degree for three or four months.

San José fair

The Principal’s Office in San José de Calasanz has always supported this project of development of entrepreneurial skills to train future citizens. Providing teachers with training on methodologies and with a program evaluation of key competences has been a key factor for the success of the entire process and the overall implementation of this system in the whole school. It has also been necessary to modify some of the school’s facilities in order to provide space, tools and all the necessary equipment. Students can work with computer technologies, manage information, deliver lectures, develop projects, and plan market fairs and events. We needed new spaces and resources to implement new learning methodologies. This project counted on the collaboration of the maximum number of human resources, own areas and funding.

Training in entrepreneurial skills has become part of the key objectives of the Strategic Plan of our school and therefore the rest of the subjects had re-adapted their contents and contributed to spread the flexible, participatory spirit oriented to the new needs that job market and society expect from a modern citizen. Thus, we will get not only more employable students, but also  citizens with a series of entrepreneurial skills able to lead and manage the social and economic changes that await us in the coming years to achieve true sustainable and social development.

Links of the activity/project with the external world

The development of the program for spreading the culture of entrepreneurship "Entrepreneurship for Learning" has allowed us to collaborate and participate with many partners outside the school. We work with development agencies such as Dema and Behargintza. In these programs students have to propose, justify and defend their business idea. They have to set up an educational company in a real environment too. This has involved our defense of this project before entrepreneurial authorities unconnected with the school. Our students have also been advised and mentored by the professionals of these organizations. This has raised the levels of motivation and commitment of the students who have taken part in these projects thanks to the  contact with those external  experts. They have also been aware of their connection with the socio economic development of our area of influence, the Left Bank of Nervion River.

San José evaluation

For the last five years our school has been actively involved in programs like Ikasenpresa organized by Tknika, in which we have got excellent results. Our students have had to set up educational companies where they have had to manage, produce and sell their products and services, attend trade fairs, conferences and actual markets. It has been a very positive experience in which teams of students have had to exercise their entrepreneurial skills by using active learning in the context of business simulation. This experience has given them the chance of training and developing those competences that both companies and society require and value in a professional future. We have also co-operated with Tknika in evaluating its program Ikasenpresa developing a competence assessment system. We are also an experimental school using their entrepreneurial skills assessment software.

Besides, our participation in these programs has allowed us to work closely with private and public educational and business institutions. In these networks and shared knowledge our students have had the opportunity to participate in seminars, courses, activities, markets, fairs and conferences with students in other training and professional external institutions in entrepreneurship support programs. This is very positive because in this way, students have a global view of our socio-economic and business setting and have the opportunity to liaise and contact with organizations that support their business or employment and personal development.

The results of all these relationships are very positive both in the development of competences of students and in the exploitation of opportunities and synergies that can appear outside the school and institutions which could support the foundation of companies and the setting- up of collaboration networks and shared use of knowledge and talent. The teachers involved have published articles in journals of innovation in vocational training, in press and in specialized publications.

The school in the community

Programs like "Entrepreneurship Learning" have allowed us to connect with projects related to our area of influence. We work with local development agencies of Santurtzi, the Basque Government, the Basque Innovation Agency Government, Tknika and  Innobasque. San José de Calasanz is part of the Job Forum in our town in the Town Hall of Santurtzi in which opportunities are studied to create jobs in co-operation with unions, local companies, neighbourhood associations and local development agencies.

We usually work involving our school, teachers, students and families in this type of initiative in the Community. We look for the most suitable thematic areas, projects or subjects to be developed in the school. We work with students in school long enough with other teachers’ and students’ involvement and cooperation. If it is necessary space and facilities are provided to carry out the activity for the community. We collaborate with the promoter all the time. Some of the beneficial activities in which we participate in our community are:

All such external activities have generated a great amount of awards and recognitions for the students.  Media and press have published news, videos and reports about our students. The level of involvement and commitment of our school has grown due to these activities.  School and society are mutually beneficial that is why we encourage teachers and students to participate as much as they can.

Achievements and impact

We are very proud of our students and teachers who have made possible to achieve this dream in the whole school from 16 year old children to all vocational training   students. It is very special for us to support their motivation to make students develop key skills naturally through entrepreneurial projects. Students’ satisfaction has increased, in  large part, thanks to these methodologies.

The short-term effects of this project are:

A long-term participation of all students in this type of program has the following goals:


San José presentation


Achievements (2010-2013)

Success factors

Obstacles and ways to overcome them