THE principal of Gateshead College today launches a scheme to get students better qualified for work or to start their own business as one of the country’s first entrepreneurial colleges.
Richard Thorold has linked up with four other colleges and entrepreneurs including Peter Jones and Doug Richard, of BBC series Dragon’s Den, to lead a new style of education.
His 3,000 teenage students and 10,000 adult students are mainly on vocational courses.
He aims to teach them skills including an understanding of networking, accountancy, public relations and sales, which will give them a better chance of a job or even to work for themselves.
“Education is still teaching for an industrial age which disappeared a long time ago,” said Thorold.
“The economic situation has changed in recent years and we wanted to give our students a better chance of getting a sustainable job.
“Over the next five years we want to change the ethos of the college to be a lot more entrepreneurial.
“It is not enough just to teach students and then effectively get them to tell us what they have learned to pass their exams. There aren’t jobs just waiting for them at the end.
“We will ensure they still pass exams, but we are teaching them to act rather than just learn. We want them to be eager, curious, take risks and have confidence.” He said the pilot projects at the college, whose alumni include Trevor Mann, Nissan’s senior vice president for manufacturing in Europe, and Sunderland plant chief Kevin Fitzpatrick, had been enthusiastically welcomed by students and lecturers.