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Peter Jones’s National Enterprise Academy opens its doors to train the next generation of entrepreneurs

Peter Jones’s National Enterprise Academy opens its doors to train the next generation of entrepreneurs

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 21 September 2009

Young people will now be able to study for brand-new qualifications in enterprise and entrepreneurship as the National Enterprise Academy (NEA), brainchild of Dragons’ Den entrepreneur Peter Jones, and backed by Government, officially opens today. The NEA, the first-ever UK educational institution dedicated solely to enterprise and entrepreneurship, will pioneer a new and innovative way of teaching. It will expose students to real-life business issues in real-life business environments, with a high level of input from a range of entrepreneurs acting as mentors, supporting trained tutors.

The NEA will enrol nearly 18,000 learners in its first five years, giving young people and older learners the skills and confidence to become enterprising employees or entrepreneurs in their own right. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has invested up to £9m, matched by employers, creating a powerful partnership which allows employers to lead and shape the skills being taught.

Speaking at the launch of the Academy at the London headquarters of Orange, the NEA’s exclusive communications and key corporate partner, Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said:

“Enterprise is essential to our future and it starts with young people. This Academy will play a vital role in helping young people unlock their talent and gain the skills necessary for a better future, both for themselves and the country. The Academy and its students deserve every support and success.”

The two new qualifications have a strong focus on practical skills. The first, a level 2 BTEC Diploma in Understanding Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, and the second, a level 3 BTEC Diploma in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, have been developed in partnership with Edexcel, the UK’s largest qualifications awarding body. Both will be available to 16 to 19-year-olds from this September at the NEA’s enterprise centres in Buckinghamshire and Manchester. The qualifications will also be integrated into diplomas.

Peter Jones, entrepreneur and founder of the NEA, said:

“While it’s true that traditional business studies courses equip students with a wealth of valuable theoretical business knowledge, there is currently no single academic course wholly dedicated to enterprise and entrepreneurship – a fact that inspired me to set about establishing the National Enterprise Academy.

“In the UK, we need to foster amongst our young people an ‘I can’ rather than a ‘Can I?’ attitude. That is not to say we do not already possess a great deal of young talent in Britain – far from it. But up until now, we have simply not done enough to unlock the entrepreneurial talents of our young people. There is arguably no better time to create a National Enterprise Academy than during a recession. The UK needs entrepreneurs to stimulate the economy and businesses need inspired employees to help their companies recover quickly. With the continued support of Government and the private sector, the National Enterprise Academy will create both”.

The NEA opens its doors after a successful Pathfinder pilot programme began in January 2009 where 28 students were recruited on to an intensive six-month programme designed to develop, shape and test the UK’s first ever qualifications dedicated solely to enterprise and entrepreneurship. The results of this pilot programme are outstanding: several students have already established their own businesses, some are continuing in education, including taking up further provision with the NEA, gaining further knowledge and skills which will help them make a contribution to the country’s economic growth. Five of the graduates have been offered positions by high-profile organisations.

Tom Alexander, CEO of Orange UK, the NEA’s exclusive communications and key corporate partner, said:

“UK businesses play a pivotal role in transforming the entrepreneurial culture in the UK. For us at Orange, constant innovation is essential in order to achieve our goal of becoming the best-loved telecommunications company in Britain. We work in one of the fastest paced industries in the world and it is therefore essential that we hire young people with the skills, ability and drive to become the future leaders of our business. The NEA is a superb way to do just that and we are proud to be supporting this great initiative. “

Geoff Russell, LSC Chief Executive, said:

“I am delighted that the National Enterprise Academy has passed through the business planning stage to become the 12 th active member of the National Skills Academy network. The network was created to deliver world-class skills and the Academy’s vision to establish the UK as a global leader in enterprise makes it an exciting addition to those already established.”

Alex Pratt, OBE, SEEDA Board Member, commented:

“We’ve invested £2.3 million in the National Enterprise Academy in Buckinghamshire to help get the Pathfinder going as we see the NEA offering a new and exciting way of engaging young people in the world of enterprise. We are delighted that the Learning and Skills Council has endorsed the importance of instilling an enterprise culture in our prospective young businessmen and women through these new qualifications. There is a wealth of business opportunities out there waiting to be grasped. “

Notes to Editors

1. Lord Mandelson and Peter Jones attended the launch of the National Enterprise Academy at the London headquarters of Orange, where they met the first intake of students.

2. Both qualifications will equip students with a sound theoretical understanding of business planning, marketing, accounting, financial planning and market research and will, more importantly, capture the true essence of financial entrepreneurialism. At level 2, students will hone their business skills on live business challenges in established real-world businesses. At level 3, students will take on the responsibility for the day-to-day management of their own business. The shorter BTEC level 2 will be integrated in to the additional special leaning (ASL) modules of the diploma framework.

3. National Skills Academies are the gold standard for industry training, aiming to improve productivity and tackle skills shortages across England. Each National Skills Academy puts employers at the heart of skills training for their sector: they identify demand for future skills needs and ensure a responsive supply of excellent education and training for their sector; they ensure this is easily accessed by employers. It is managed by the Learning and Skills Council working in partnership with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, the Skills for Business Network, and the Department for Children, Schools and Families.

4. The National Enterprise Academy is part of a national network of 16 Skills Academies, (12 now active) which are driven by business and delivering high-quality skills that business needs across all the key sectors of the economy. Around 880,000 people will be trained by the 16 National Skills Academies during their first five years of operation, securing around £130m in employer investment.

5. Those active are: Manufacturing, Construction, Financial Services, Food and Drink Manufacturing, Nuclear, Process Industries, Hospitality, Creative and Cultural Skills, Sport & Active Leisure, Retail and Materials, Production & Supply. National Skills Academies for Power, IT, Social Care and Fashion, Textiles & Jewellery are still in business planning.

6. SEEDA, the South East England Development Agency, is the Government-funded agency responsible for the sustainable economic development of the South East of England – the driving force of the UK’s economy. Through supporting businesses, encouraging innovation, developing skills and engaging with public and private partners, we aim to create a successful, sustainable future for the region.

Department for Business, Innovation & Skills

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is building a dynamic and competitive UK economy by: creating the conditions for business success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and giving everyone the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this it will foster world-class universities and promote an open global economy. BIS - Investing in our future.


BIS Press Office

Mark Malbas
Phone: 020 7215 5303

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