Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship
Apprenticing with a Problem
The Skoll Centre believes that deep understanding of environmental and social challenges and existing attempts to address them are essential for those who seek to create social entrepreneurial solutions.
With this in mind, the Skoll Centre runs Map the System, an ‘ecosystem mapping’ competition for student teams, which rewards a knowledge-led approach to social entrepreneurship. To allow Map the System participants to dive even deeper into the area they seek to influence, Apprenticing with a Problem funding enables individuals to spend a period of 3 to 6 months ‘in the field’ learning about their issue.
Apprenticing with a Problem supports individuals to further develop their understanding through experiential learning and deep immersion. For example: through a structured, multi-location research project, or an internship or placement with an organisation or organisations already tackling the problem they are interested in. The aim of the funding is that ‘Apprentices’ gain insight into where they are best placed to impact their particular issue, whether that be through, for example, founding a new initiative, using their skills in an existing organisation, or working to change policy.
This approach builds on the Daniela Papi-Thornton's Tackling Heropreneurship report which challenges the fetishisation of heroic founders and proposes a collaborative, cross-sector approach to transforming unjust and unsatisfactory systems. Apprenticing with a Problem encourages innovation through a range of social impact roles and career options, building on and adding to existing initiatives rather than reproducing the same mistakes. By celebrating “building on” we aim for fewer innovations designed in a vacuum, less pressure for students to prove that they and their solution are unique, and more targeted and effective social entrepreneurial activity that fills real needs.
Apprenticing with a Problem funding is only open to University of Oxford students who submitted an entry to Map the System.
You can read reports from past Apprenticing with a Problem awardees at our Skoll Centre Blog.