Thu 2 October 2014
Gower College was also selected to go through to the European Enterprise Promotional Awards that took place in Naples where they received a Special Mention in the category.
Gower College Swansea has a strong track record of working with its students to promote and develop enterprise skills. During the last two years a coherent pathway has emerged within the City and County of Swansea to build the enterprise skills of young people. This pathway begins in primary and secondary school and leads to a specialist enterprise academy for start-up businesses, hence the project name of Primary to Professional or P2P.
The College has been at the heart of these developments, but relies on partnership with a variety of stakeholders from education providers, local government and local business leaders. The College and its partners coordinate their work through the Building Enterprise Education in Swansea (BEES) group chaired by Councillor Mike Day. We as a city we realised that we needed to engage with our learners at a much younger age than leaving until age 16 to introduce them to the all important entreprenerial skills. There were a number of challenges with both engaging the heads and the teaching staff who could not see how they could embed this into an already packed curriculum timetable. However we came up with a solution.
The College Enterprise team works with individual schools to design a bespoke enterprise course using the themes they are already delivering within their curriculum. This helps staff and pupils see the relevance of enterprise. The activities are delivered using students from the College who proivde the manpower to deliver these activities, they also who mentor the school pupils as they complete the course. This successful approach with primary schools was then extended into the secondary sector as the College worked with local comprehensives to extend pupils’ understanding of enterprise and continue to show entrepreneurial skills.
The work with schools has been recognised by local and national governments, leading to the introduction of two high profile enterprise competitions for schools. For primary, the Welsh Government has supported the Enterprise Troopers competition and, for secondary, the Young Business Dragons competition.
In October 2012 the College launched the Entrepreneurship Academy Wales. The academy offers 18-30 year olds the opportunity to build their entreprenerial skills through formal study and enterprise activities. The academy has the philosophy of ‘learning by doing’, so has a strong emphasis on master classes and workshops carried out by local business people.
The College has also been at the centre of two recent exciting developments which support new businesses in Swansea. Last year Swansea became the first centre in Wales to host a Start Up Weekend. Young entrepreneurs from the area took part in one of over 300 simultaneous global events, giving a confidence boost to those working on establishing their own business. For technology start ups Swansea has been become only the third UK franchise of TechHub.