A group of young people in Malvern recently marked a special achievement – being the first cohort of students to graduate from the area’s Peter Jones Enterprise Academy.
Beryl Cuckney, a local business woman, launched the Malvern Business Academy in collaboration with Peter Jones CBE in September 2015. Teaching the course herself, with support from businesses across the local area, her aim is to support the area’s young people – from underprivileged or non-traditional education backgrounds – to gain enterprise skills.
Speaking about her motivation to bring enterprise education to Malvern, Beryl Cuckney said: “I wanted to put something back into the local community. Everybody has so much more to give than they think and I wanted to look for those who have been left behind.”
“I take a completely unique approach by bringing the community together to support these young people. The reward is that they all have a different future now with many different options. I now want to look at how the Academy moves forward.”
Peter Jones CBE commented: “With record levels of youth unemployment, I believe it is a priority to inspire more young people across Britain to consider a different career path – an entrepreneurial one.”
The four students all completed the Level 2 Certification in Understanding Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, the equivalent of two GCSEs. They finished their studies in just over 14 weeks, having previously been NEETs (not in employment, education or training).
Qaylee Hill, a 19-year-old Malvern Business Academy student from Worcester said: “The course has made me much more confident. I am more trusting of people. I am open to more opportunities now and can take on more than I realised I could.”
Gemma Pearson, another Peter Jones Enterprise Academy student, from Droitwich, said: “The course has turned my life around. I was in a very dark place before and didn’t feel good enough to get a job. I have proved to myself I am good enough through being in the Academy and have had amazing support. I am now running a business in dog breeding.”
The students came together with tutor Beryl Cuckney, alongside family, friends and a representative from the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy, for a graduation celebration at Malvern Football Club.
The afternoon was a fantastic opportunity for everyone in attendance to take a look back at their achievements over the year, alongside the national graduation celebration that the students attended during the same week at Freemasons Hall in London.
Pictured: Beryl Cuckney (left) with Peter Jones Enterprise Academy graduates.