Posted: Wednesday 8 August 2012
Budding entrepreneurs from Kilmarnock College are set to spark business success as part of a unique programme being run in association with the Entrepreneurial Spark West Coast Hatchery.
The innovative new scheme will allow 45 students to gain qualifications and real work experience through exposure to an entrepreneurial environment by assisting Chiclets - up-and-coming business stars at the Hatchery - with various projects.
Known as Oxygen (or Step into Enterprise), the programme will see students aged 16-24 complete 192 hours of learning at Kilmarnock College and 192 of work experience at the Hatchery in order to stimulate progression opportunities and assist them in moving forward into full-time college courses, modern apprenticeships or other wage subsidy opportunities.
Entrepreneurial Spark is a social enterprise set up to support to start-up businesses, and the West Coast Hatchery has been established to support entrepreneurs in Ayrshire.
Jim Duffy, Founder and Chief Executive Optimist of Entrepreneurial Spark, believes the Oxygen project will identify a new batch of Ayrshire entrepreneurial talent by inspiring students and helping them develop the skills required for business success.
He said: "Kilmarnock College - and Principal Heather Dunk in particular - deserves huge credit for being truly entrepreneurial in leading the way to develop a progressive framework that will engage with young people and instil in them real hope for the future.
"It has never been more challenging for young people to get jobs and start businesses, but this ground-breaking Ayrshire programme based in the Entrepreneurial-Spark West Coast Hatchery will put young people and start-up businesses in the same space.
"The Oxygen project will give the students a taste of real work and help them understand the motivation, resilience, determination and communication skills required to succeed in business. The energy displayed by people at the Hatchery is inspiring and addictive, and by sparking off the students who knows where it could lead - it's all about creating a sense of ambition.
"I will personally be involved in Oxygen as I have a top-secret project that I would like the students to help me research, investigate, plan and bring to fruition..."
Kilmarnock College is working in partnership with East Ayrshire Council to develop a joined-up approach to tackle youth unemployment. The Oxygen project, which is part of the New College Learning Programme funded by Skills Development Scotland (SDS), is just one of a number of initiatives currently underway.
Heather Dunk, Principal at Kilmarnock College, said: "I can't thank Jim and his team Entrepreneurial Spark enough for their support in helping to bring the Oxygen project to life.
"Candidates for the Oxygen project will be recruited throughout August and is aimed exclusively at those 16-24 year olds who are currently unemployed. To be successfully recruited the young people will need to show enthusiasm for success and a real aptitude for creativity.
"I'm extremely excited that young people from the College will have the chance to shine in an environment such as the Hatchery and look forward to hearing all of their fantastic success in assisting the Chiclets' businesses.
"This project is a fantastic opportunity for the development of the future workforce in Ayrshire and I hope it could be the catalyst for some of our students to take the first steps towards starting their own businesses."
For further information on how to Step into Enterprise through the Oxygen programme at Kilmarnock College please call Learner Services on 01563 495049 or click here.
Issued by Beattie Communications on behalf of Kilmarnock College
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