From education to employment

Business guru puts adult learners on the path to success

Business guru

A business growth guru is helping would-be entrepreneurs get ahead in life, thanks to the North of Tyne Combined Authority.

Director of Newcastle-based marketing firm Highfly Ventures Sam Clegg has teamed up with business connectors FIRST to deliver vocational training to adult learners seeking a new start.

The seven-week course of one-to-one online coaching, self-learning and group Zoom sessions has been offered for free to residents in Newcastle, Northumberland and North Tyneside.

The Learning offer includes:

  • An optional work placement within a start-up or micro business to apply new skills in a real work environment.
  • Guided networking activities so learners can build contacts within the business community whilst being supported by FIRST staff.
  • Qualifications to help them progress.
  • Progression opportunities to further qualifications.

Successful applicants gain a Level 1 qualification in Understanding Enterprise upon completion of the course.

Alexandria Thompson, adult learnerSam Clegg FIRST

Funded by £50,000 from the North of Tyne Adult Education Budget, the courses are free for anybody eligible to apply and will be starting regularly until September next year (2021).

Sam said: “I think everybody has a business inside them.

“We have all sat and thought ‘I would love to run a business’ or sometimes contemplated being our own boss or coming up with a really good idea, and I think what holds people back is thinking ‘I don’t have the skills’ or that they don’t have that one good idea.

“Actually, it’s just about trying things out and building confidence.

“That’s what FIRST are all about and that’s what the Level 1 in Understanding Enterprise is all about.

“It’s about getting those skills and putting them into practice, building confidence and just giving it a go.”

North of Tyne Cabinet Member for Employability and Inclusion and Deputy Leader of Newcastle City Council Cllr Joyce McCarty said:

“It’s an absolute pleasure for me to see the first cohort of learners come through.  They’re on the path to realising their potential, thanks to the efforts of Sam and the team at FIRST.

“Having control at local level of the devolved Adult Education Budget has been key to us being able to deliver a course of this kind which, due to its size and nature, would never normally have received this kind of funding.

“This is helping us shape a more productive, skilled, and inclusive economy.  It’s what we need to be successful in the North of Tyne.”

FIRST Managing Director Charlotte Windebank said:

“Now more than ever, leadership and progression skills are vital for our communities and economy to recover from the pandemic.

“I am so proud of what the learners and the FIRST team have achieved so far.”

The course has been designed by North East entrepreneurial experts, linking with the local ecosystem and EntreComp – the European framework for entrepreneurial skills.

As well as the qualification, all learners receive 121 progression sessions with connections to local enterprise agencies, networking events and industry contacts to ensure legacy and next steps are achievable.

The next course, which is open to people in South Tyneside also, is due to start on November 30.

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