‘If we’re going to have an economy where people are entrepreneurial and can run their own business, we need to give them the skills now that can sustain them later on in life,' says Roderick Sutherland, Assistant Principal Apprenticeship and Employer Engagement at Peterborough Regional College
Peterborough Regional College is the largest further education college within Peterborough, providing vocational qualifications up to level 5, postgraduate qualifications at the University Centre Peterborough, a range of apprenticeships, plus special programmes designed to support people into work or education through the Jobsmart facility. In January 2013 the college also partnered with the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy (PJEA) to offer specific BTEC accredited qualifications in enterprise and entrepreneurship.
Roderick says, ‘We see the entrepreneurial spirit within Peterborough and we very much want to support it. There are lots of people that have good ideas and they just need a bit of help taking their idea to fruition. You hear a lot of entrepreneurs say that they’ve either had a business person in the family, or had some kind of mentor to talk to. But for those people who don’t have someone like that in their lives, there’s the Peter Jones Academy where we’ve got experts, business mentors and guest speakers that young people can talk to and learn things to help their business.’
‘There are lots of people that have good ideas and they just need a bit of help taking their idea to fruition…’
The philosophy of the PJEA is very much learning by doing, so although there is a teaching element (in boardroom style classrooms, of course) which give people the skills needed to run a successful business such as financial modelling and forecasting, there is also a large focus on getting involved with the local business community through the likes of work placements, networking events and involvement with local business groups. Roderick reveals the college has a very good relationship with The Business Club in particular. ‘The Business Club, run by Brian Soanes, is very supportive of new businesses, because you get smaller business talking to bigger businesses and they’ll talk about things like how to get new business, how to work with the best customers, how to handle your finances and generate more income.’
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