Wednesday, February 10, 2016

News: Aston Academy reopens enterpise club

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Aston Academy in Rotherham has been able to re-open its Enterprise Club this year thanks to £3,500 of funding from business funder UK Steel Enterprise's 40:40 challenge; marking their 40th anniversary.

Tata Steel subsidiary UK Steel Enterprise launched the 40:40 challenge last year with a pot of £40,000 open to schools and other youth organisations to work with students aged 18 or under. The challenge is part of the overall work UK Steel does in the region, supporting businesses and organisations in steel regions across the UK.

The Academy's Enterprise Club is aimed at students from year seven to nine and provides an opportunity to get hands-on experience in the running of a business. Last year the Club was not able to go ahead due to lack of access to essential equipment but the UK Steel Enterprise funding has allowed the Academy to purchase a laser cutter, and it can now welcome groups of students to learn the benefits of business and enterprise each year.

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The Enterprise Club, which was established nine years ago to give students the opportunity to learn different entrepreneurial skills and manufacturing techniques, allows students to create and sell products to their fellow pupils within school. It also allows students to test key business skills such as team management; product development; and manufacturing, planning, marketing, selling and finance management.

Typically students produce personalised rulers, keyrings and engraving work, all of which are sold through a lunchtime stationary shop. They are created using the technology department as a base, designed through IT software and produced by the new laser cutting machine.

The academy hosted a "Dragon's Den" event at the end of last year with judges from UKSE joined by Laura Attwell and Alexandra Craw, (International Buyers’-Boots the Chemist), Sam Nicholson (Nicholson Accountants) and Sarah Moss (Moss Ceramics).

Bryan Sadler, head of business and enterprise at Aston Academy, said: "Without the grant from UK Steel enterprise we would not have been able to buy the laser cutter; and many students would have missed out on learning many different entrepreneurial skills, not only this year, but for many years to come.

"Who knows, maybe one could be the next James Dyson!"

Matt Stewart, investment executive at UK Steel Enterprise, added: "This is a great, creative initiative to get students thinking about business management and being an entrepreneur.

"We're delighted to support the club and we’re excited to see the funding for the equipment inspire students to create a business from scratch and learn everything from manufacturing to marketing their product or idea."

UKSE website

Images: UKSE

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