Newcastle College have become the North East hub of the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy, and are looking for businesses to help inspire the next generation of business people.
Courses are set to begin this September, including Level 2 and 3 Diplomas in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship.
Bdaily spoke to Director of Health and Enterprise at the College, Barbara King, who told us about this innovative model of learning.
“We have had a lot of our old students coming back into the college, talking about the successful businesses they’ve gone on to have, and we just thought it was time to act on this, and really showcase our strengths,” says Barbara.
“The North East isn’t particularly good at start ups and I think it has tended to rely too heavily on the public sector.”
The Peter Jones Academy network has given the College the ideal vehicle through which to focus its enterprise strengths.
“We want to tap into the spirit of cultural change that the Peter Jones network carries.
“If Peter’s name can inspire and get young people interested in starting their own business, then I think that’s a great thing and we can take that interest forward.”
The College has already begun to embed enterprise across the curriculum, and the two new qualifications will boast an evolving programme, responding to the business engagement.
Barbara continued: “Previous qualifications are not the be all and end all, it doesn’t matter so much about GCSEs, as long as the student can demonstrate a strong interest in enterprise - it might be that they already have an idea they want to take forward.”
“It’s a very live and diverse programme that is constantly evolving. No two students will have exactly the same experience, as the curriculum is continually adapting.
A close relationship with business will sit at the heart of the Enterprise Academy, with companies engaging across a number of areas.
“They could become involved by offering their time to talk to students, creating placements, conducting guest lectures, or even issuing live project briefs that our students can work on.
“What we would ultimately love businesses to do, is take a student under their wing and mentor them. This will give students a working insight into a diverse range of businesses.
Barbara suggests this relationship will be a mutually beneficial one: “Businesses appreciate the value of getting young people practical experience, and it also gives them opportunity to do something that will fulfil their corporate social responsibility, which is becoming more prominent across companies of all sizes.”
Staff from the College have also tapped into the national network of Peter Jones Enterprise Academies, through which they are gathering knowledge and practices for implementation in Newcastle.
“Our staff have been in the South, at Buckinghamshire College, where they have been working with staff to share ideas and produce exciting, live learning materials.
“We’re hoping to establish some national projects, where students will work together on briefs, through the likes of webinars and skype.”
For more information on the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy, please visit the website here, or if you would like to find out how your business could get involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org.