Norwich City College’s �500,000 plan to change the face of further education

City College Norwich is spending �500,000 to create an enterprise zone that it hopes could begin to change the face of further and higher education.

The Ipswich Road college is aiming to give students 'Dragon's Den-style' entrepreneurial skills to set up their own businesses, pitch their ideas and survive in an increasingly competitive world.

College principal Dick Palmer said the days of students getting qualification and walking into a job were coming to an end.

And, in a move that he expects other colleges and universities to follow, CCN is setting up the UK's first enterprise zone - joining forces with North Herts College and Gateshead College to devise an 'enterprise curriculum'.

This week Mr Palmer joined the leaders of the two colleges for a crucial meeting in London, where they hoped to convince a high-profile education sector firm to give its financial backing to the collaboration.

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He said: 'There's three colleges involved - us, North Herts College and Gateshead College. We are looking at how we can create a curriculum model based on enterprise.

'The world is changing around us. The good old days of coming to college, getting qualifications and getting a job are not really where we are now.

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'We ought to be realistic about that and try to give people other skills, like starting their own business and creating their own wealth.'

The enterprise zone, which will be set up during the summer break, will include:

? An ideas factory - with key businesses doing seminars on the latest industry trends and students learning about how to set up a business

? The Market Place - where students can find out if there is a gap in the market for their idea

? A business planning area - firms including Grant Thornton, Barclays and Mills and Reeve will give advice on getting finance and drawing up business plans

? Business mentoring and support

? My Pitch - a room where students can put their Dragon's Den-style pitches and get feedback from employers

? An employability zone - where students can learn how to enhance their CV with extras like voluntary work.

Mr Palmer said: 'We don't think there's a space like this in the UK. We've gone into it with two other colleges because, at difficult times, it helps if we can make our money go further.'

Chris Starkie, chief executive of Shaping Norfolk's Future, said: 'I think it's a really good idea. We are firmly supportive of anything that will equip students with the skills they need to set up in business and to develop an entrepreneurial way of doing things.'

Kieran Miles, 20, a former City College student from Hellesdon, has set up several of his own businesses and now runs media consultancy firm Ultimate Impact Media, based in the city centre. He helps advise college students on entrepreneurship and says the scheme will help create more new businesses in the city. He said: 'It's not just a zone where students learn about being about being self-employed and starting for business, it's a zone where students can realise who they are, what they want and how to achieve that.

'I certainly would have loved it.

'The difference between just setting up a business and having the entrepreneurial mindset is that the mindset is all about determination and achieving your goals, and this will help students to get that.'

? Do you have an enterprising education story? Call Steve Downes on 01263 513920 or email Follow @stevedownes1973 on Twitter.

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