A training scheme from Redcar & Cleveland College, in partnership with The Working Knowledge Group, has achieved National Training Awards. The Working Knowledge Group won awards in both the North East Regional and UK Categories for their role in an innovative enterprise training programme.
The partnership was commended for successfully setting up a range of activities for students to gain the experience of setting up a business. The programme, known as Ride the Wave, supports budding entrepreneurs right from their initial idea through to taking the service or product to market.
The managing director of The Working Knowledge Group, Andrew Hatcher, said: "We are thrilled to be recognised for our work with the staff and students at Redcar & Cleveland College. The award confirms our belief that by bringing employers together with young people in a professional and business-like way, rapidly bridges the skills gap as cultural and inter-generational barriers fall away.
"Programmes like Ride the Wave have a huge part to play in raising the aspirations and skills of our young people, while simultaneously highlighting the fantastic talent available to employers that exists in our colleges."
Ride the Wave helps students devise a business plan which is then presented to local businesses to refine their strategies in a series of real business meetings. Organisations involved include Barclaycard, Renew Tees Valley and PD Ports.
PD Ports’ David Wilson, who has joined the panel of business experts for the event, said: "I have been involved with Ride the Wave for the last four years and the experience is always rewarding. Importantly it provides an opportunity for business to engage with colleges and their students with an outcome which proves beneficial for all parties."
All candidates who go through the programme can also gain formal recognition by achieving either a Level 1 or Level 2 qualification, such as the Communication Key Skill or Working With Others Wider Key Skill.
Gary Groom, Principal of Redcar & Cleveland College, said: "Every full-time student at Redcar & Cleveland College goes through Ride the Wave and students who went through the programme last year are already seeing the benefits of it when they enter the world of work. It is absolutely brilliant, employers have been seeking out some of the more innovative students and have been offering sponsorships for business ideas as well as mentoring opportunities leading to full-time employment.
"Feedback from students shows that they have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and have developed a real focus on employability and business start up issues.
"The Ride the Wave programme at Redcar & Cleveland College is making a real difference to enterprise culture in our local area and with the now award winning programme being offered nationally, this will have an impact across the UK."