From education to employment

Dragon’s Den star Peter Jones launches enterprise programme

The Peter Jones Enterprise Academy (PJEA) will be delivering a new enterprise qualification to young entrepreneurs at Solihull College in the West Midlands.

The PJEA follows Peter Jones’ vision for transforming the Boardroom into the classroom to give students the skills and confidence to aim higher.

From September, students aged 16-19 will be able to take the diploma in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship. They will also participate in master classes and receive expert advice from leading entrepreneurs, as well as gaining work placements and personal guidance from industry professionals, such as sales, marketing and finance.

Kate Angel, business enterprise manager for the PJEA, said: “This is a really exciting time for the college. We will be giving young people the chance to study a new enterprise qualification, designed to help them realise and achieve their business dreams.

“As part of the course, students will work on real-life business challenges and interact with employers to prepare them for their entrepreneurial careers.”

Following the success of Grant Ridley, a 19-year-old who won the entrepreneur of the year award for setting up an alternative marketing agency for start up firms, Peter Jones said the success of this year’s graduates have been the highest achievers since the programme began – with almost half of the students achieving top grades of distinction or above.

The diploma has two levels that are dependent on experience. The Level Two programme focuses upon developing a viable business idea, creating a business plan, and pitching to investors.
Meanwhile, the Level Three supports students in setting up and running a micro business for a four-month period, during which they will acquire skills in business planning and finance, communicating with customers and planning for future expansion.

Solihull College is the only college in the West Midlands and the surrounding region to be working with the enterprise academy, and as a regional hub it will also be responsible for encouraging other learning providers to deliver the qualification in the future.

In 2008-09, some 75 per cent of learners were aged 16-18 at Solihull College. Just under half followed advanced learning courses, with the remainder split equally between courses at foundation and intermediate level, according to the colleges’ Ofstead report.

The college’s Blossomfield campus is hosting a PJEA awareness session on 17 August at 4pm for aspiring entrepreneurs who wish to find out more about the diploma in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship.

Ben Spencer

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