Partnership with foundation to help Bedfordshire students into the business world

Peter Jones with enterprise students
Peter Jones with enterprise students

A partnership has been forged to help students become the business leaders of the future, thanks to a link up with a Dragon’s Den star.

Sharnbrook Academy Federation (SAF) is partnering with the Peter Jones Foundation (PJF) to offer its suite of courses to students – equipping them with vital enterprise skills to take into the wider world.

Sharnbrook Academy Sixth Form is also now a Peter Jones Enterprise Academy – one of the first in the country – and accepting applications from students for the high-quality enterprise qualifications.

The qualifications are all aimed at enabling students to become the business leaders of tomorrow, allowing them to choose the path that works best for them, whether that is through continuing their education or taking a more practical route.

The Year 12 Business A-level students and Year 9 BTEC Enterprise are the first students at SAF to take the qualifications, including the PJF’s flagship Tycoon programme, in which young people write a business plan, are lent money, start a business and trades, competing with other student companies through a sophisticated kickstarter-style platform, in a safe and controlled environment.

The Year 9 BTEC Tech Award Enterprise students are actively engaging with the programme and have just started their first Flash Card Challenge, where they have been tasked with coming up with a new marketing campaign that includes social and digital media for The Clubhouse.

All the students are enjoying the challenge and are coming up with a range of innovative ideas, with the winning idea being put forward to a national competition. They will also have the opportunity to take part in other competitions and pitch and run their own business enterprise.

The Year 12 students are in the process of preparing their business plan to apply for their business funding and to start trading, with exciting ideas ranging from airplane washing to a new take on t-shirt design.

SAF is also hoping to offer the Level 3 BTEC National in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship to their new Year 12s in September 2019, providing students the opportunity to set up and run their own enterprises.

Entrepreneur Peter Jones said: “I’m absolutely delighted to announce this opportunity for Sharnbrook Academy Federation with courses offered across their schools and Sharnbrook Academy Sixth Form one of the new Peter Jones Enterprise Academies. They will help young people develop the real-world business skills that will help them succeed in life.

“I believe all young people deserve a bright future and I started the foundation with a clear goal – to improve young people’s lives. Good enterprise education is an essential element of this and should be part of all schools. We already run a number of successful enterprise programmes and offer high-quality qualifications, helping students fulfil their potential through a range of pioneering educational activities that encourage, educate and empower students, at all times championing enterprise.

“Now we are building on the success of our work to date and expanding our charitable provision by working in partnership with leading education providers through the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy Programme. The launch of the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy at Sharnbrook will further help us create the next generation of business leaders, entrepreneurs and young people with the skills to succeed in the world of work.”

Sharnbrook Academy Principal Peter Rattu said: “We are very excited to be able to offer our students the opportunity to join the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy at Sharnbrook. Learning about the world of work and being able to test out enterprise skills in a hands-on, practical environment is incredibly valuable and something our students are very enthusiastic about.

“Having the chance to work on original ideas and develop teamwork skills, knowledge and experience needed for life after education will be brilliant for our students and working with the PJEA will bring this learning to life.”

The SAF Sharnbrook Sixth Form open evening is on Thursday, October 18 and places for presentations can be booked at https://www.sharnbrook.beds.sch.uk/school-information/calendar/sixth-form-open-evening/?date=2018-10-18