Dragons' Den Star Launches Academy In County Durham For Young Entrepreneurs

Thu, 19/07/2001 - 01:00

Budding young business tycoons will get the chance to hone their entrepreneurial skills at a new academy in County Durham launched by Dragons' Den star Peter Jones.

East Durham College, in Peterlee, will be the site of the only Peter Jones Enterprise Academy to be set-up in the county.

The College will be offering the BTEC Level 2 Diploma in Understanding Enterprise and Entrepreneurship along with the BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship which Mr Jones CBE – who founded Telecoms group Phones International – helped develop.

The academy, which will take its first students from September, is expected to offer 50 places annually for 16-to-19-year-olds.

College interim principal Eugene McCrossan said: “This is a real coup for us here in Peterlee because developing entrepreneurs and enterprise skills in young people is critical to the future success of the local economy.

“This is an exciting new venture for us and for the local business community, which will have the opportunity to share knowledge and wisdom with our enterprise students.”

The programme will be a vibrant mix of theoretical and practical skills. This includes classes covering sales, marketing and finance - with the added opportunity for internships, work placement and students’ developing their own businesses.

Mr McCrossan added: “By the time they finish the course, our students will have what it takes to thrive in the business world.

“They will have the initiative, the ability to make things happen, a network of contacts and an understanding of how to build and run a successful business that will put them way ahead of their peers.”

Mr Jones set up the Enterprise Academy programme nationwide because he wanted to create a centre of excellence for developing enterprise skills. He has now set up more than 30 nationwide but East Durham College will be the only one in County Durham.

His aim was to ‘shift the boardroom into the classroom’ and equip future generations of entrepreneurs with the skills and confidence to aim higher.

Mr Jones said: “I believe that this is a critical time to engage and inspire our future entrepreneurs.

“To ensure this, we must nurture and support entrepreneurial talent in our young people and a main aim of our Enterprise Academy has been to work with key college partners, including East Durham College."

Peter Chapman, Chief Executive of East Durham Business Service, said: “I was delighted to be part of the team which successfully gained the Peter Jones Academy at East Durham College.

“Here in the North East our future prosperity depends on supporting enterprise and entrepreneurial ideas. This is a vital first step in the process and I look forward to working closely with East Durham College to make it a real success.”

Information about the Academy and how to apply will be available at the next college open day at the Peterlee Campus on Willerby Grove, on Saturday 28th April between 10am and 1pm.