From education to employment

Enterprise and the Opportunities that Christmas Brings from Lancashire

The Enterprise 2005 Challenge has been announced, and students from across Lancashire are rushing to be a part of it. More than 50 schools and colleges from across the region have signed up to the challenge, each entering a team of ten students.

The opening heats are just starting now, with the winning contestant from each of the areas going forward to the Lancashire-wide final on the 15th November. The final, which is scheduled to be held at Clayton Park Conference and Learning Centre in Accrington, falls during National Enterprise Week which begins on the 14th of November.

Building Enterprise in Young Learners

The events have been organised in cooperation with the Enterprise Advisory Service, Lancashire Education Business Partnership and young Enterprise, all of whom are being funded by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) in Lancashire. During each of the regional heats, students will be set a business enterprise challenge and will need to prepare a business plan, marketing strategy and present their proposals to a panel of judges. Each team is to benefit from the assistance of a local employer who will advise them on business issues providing them with support for their planning and delivery.

Starting this September, all key stage 4 students are entitled to five days enterprise education as part of the statutory work-related learning requirement. Steve Palmer, executive director of the LSC in Lancashire, said: “Enterprise is a very important part of building our local economy in Lancashire. We are supporting this Enterprise Challenge to encourage young people to think with a business mind while they are still at school. The standard from entrants so far has been outstanding, so I am very excited about the final on 15th November.”

The Season’s Spirit

In addition, employers in and around Lancashire are being urged to tap into £3 million available to help them train their staff by the beginning of December. The money is offered through the Employer Training Pilot (ETP), funded and co-ordinated by the LSC in Lancashire and supported by Business Link Lancashire. The ETP is already driving up the skills of the workforce in Lancashire, offering heavily subsidised training at NVQ level 2 and providing employers with a financial contribution towards the costs.

Steve Palmer, executive director of the LSC in Lancashire, called for employers to act swiftly, saying: “I can”t believe that there are so many employers in Lancashire who aren”t making the most of this opportunity. At the moment there are over 4,500 employees from over 600 organisations in Lancashire benefiting from training through ETP. However, many more employers are struggling on when they could be tapping into a £3 million pot to train their employees ““ helping with staff retention and motivation.

“This money is available for a limited time only,” he continued. “Lancashire has been chosen as a pilot area for the ETP, but with changes in programmes next year, we can”t guarantee that employers will get such an advantageous opportunity again. All businesses in Lancashire with lower skilled employees over the age of 19 are eligible to benefit from the ETP, so I would urge employers to get in touch before the end of December to find out how we can give you money to train your staff.”

Jethro Marsh

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