The Co-operative Group has launched a set of teaching aids to educate children about co-operative enterprises after research revealed young people were left flummoxed by the business approach.

Of 1,101 18 to 24-year-olds polled by the society, more than three quarters (76%) said they had never been taught about co-operatives as a business model, while 37% admitted they did not understand business or know how to go about it. Yet the survey found that more than half (63%) were more likely to launch a venture with others rather than go solo.

The Co-op Group hopes to build on the findings by issuing teaching packs to more than 5,000 primary and secondary schools that have joined its free education programme, Green Schools Revolution.

Each teaching aid features activity and lesson plans designed to encourage pupils to explore the reason for the existence of businesses and their impact on people, communities and the environment.

Material on the social history surrounding the birth of co-operatives is also included.

Local co-operative visits will also be arranged to enable business studies, citizenship, and enterprise students to experience first-hand how principles and values are put to work.

Sarah Klueter, The Co-op Group’s community investment manager, said: “It is vital that more is done to ensure the next generation have the skills and knowledge to create enterprises that are fit for a more sustainable future.”