Budding Staffordshire entrepreneurs found themselves praised in Parliament after a visit by Cannock Chase MP Amanda Milling to the South Staffordshire Young Enterprise Trade Fair.
The trade fair in Burton upon Trent featured teams of pupils from schools across south and east Staffordshire, who have set up their own companies and are competing for the county’s best business award and the chance to go on to the national Young Enterprise finals.
Amanda Milling was so impressed with the success of the scheme that she raised it at Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons.
“I visited a Young Enterprise Trade Fair where teams from across Staffordshire schools, including Rugeley Sixth Form Academy, were showcasing their entrepreneurial skills,” she said. Ms Milling asked David Cameron to join her in wishing good luck to all of the teams. She added: “Does he agree with me that initiatives like this are key to inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs?”
The Prime Minister replied: “For years in our schools not enough was done to encourage enterprise and entrepreneurship. When we know so many jobs of the future will come from start- up businesses and small business, it is absolutely right that in our schools we should be promoting enterprise, not only through teaching but also through exercises- including starting businesses for young people and giving them small grants.”
Ms Milling said afterwards: “I believe that initiatives like Young Enterprise are absolutely key to inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs – giving the skills and imagination to succeed. Cannock Chase has recently been leading the way in Staffordshire in terms of the number of new businesses starting up, but we must make sure that we give young people the opportunities to develop the right skills so that they can continue this trend for years to come. This is important for the future of our young people, our local area and our country.”
Schools from Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire will be showcasing their businesses at a Young Enterprise trade fair in Stone town centre this Saturday, March 12. Schools taking part are Alleynes Academy, Blythe Bridge High School, Haywood Academy, King Edward VI High School, Madeley High School, Newcastle under Lyme School, St Dominic’s Brewood, Stafford Grammar School, The Rural Enterprise Academy, Walton High School and Wolstanton High School.
The Staffordshire finals are being held on March 23 at Wedgwood for the northern schools and in Lichfield for the southern schools. There are 21 Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire schools currently engaged in the project.
The Young Enterprise competition is part of a package of employability programmes for schools that are involved in the Locality Project run by Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s Education Trust, in partnership with the county and city councils.
LEP chairman David Frost CBE commented: “It is very gratifying to have the hard work and enterprise of our young people praised in Parliament.
“The students involved in Young Enterprise are demonstrating exactly the kind of can-do approach we need to help Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent prosper, and I am sure this valuable experience will help them flourish in their future careers.”
The Education Trust’s Locality Project aims to promote the importance of enterprise and financial education, help pupils find out about the world of work and develop skills they need for the future, including teamwork and problem-solving, and inspire them to become the entrepreneurs of the future.
Above: Amanda Milling is pictured with Chase Terrace Technology College pupils, from left, Stefan Spurrier, Daniel Broadhead and Emily Farr.
Below: Amanda Milling is pictured with Rugeley Sixth Form Academy students, from left, Harvey Hall, Ben Chambers and Alisha Smith.