Entrepreneurialism at Pearson College

PCL Students at 80 Strand

“Students must be taught how to tackle challenges after the start-up phase. Bringing in experienced business people who’ve ‘been there and done that’ can help them. We must connect students to the real business world – we can’t rely on textbooks and business theory.”

A steadily increasing focus for employers is the experience of their candidates- not their degree, not their qualifications, but whether or not (students in particular) have actually gained the skills required to be able to put what the learnt in the classroom into practice in the boardroom. Television programmes such as The Apprentice have helped highlight that anyone can talk the talk, but putting that talk into actual practise is something entirely different.

The Guardian has focused on this point in a recent article, highlighting the importance of entrepreneurship within the student community and how vital it is that businesses and students connect in order to help nurture this next generation of entrepreneurs.

“Some students believe they’re going to get rich quick, but only 4% of startups achieve a million ­pound turnover after three years, and the failure rate remains high. Many students generate fantastic ideas, but translating them into a profitable, sustainable business – that’s a different story. The big challenge isn’t starting a business – it’s sustaining and scaling it.”

Teaching entrepreneurship to students is not something that is necessarily easy to do, especially if you are not an entrepreneur yourself. There is a big gap between being good at business and being a good entrepreneur and working directly with businesses is a good way to find out if you’re destined for one route or the other. At Pearson College, we work directly with our Industry Partners to ensure that all our students fully understand the concept of what it really means to be in business.

“Some universities are still trying to get to grips with how best to teach entrepreneurship. There are other issues, for example, some students are so focused on passing exams and getting at least a 2:1 that they don’t fully realise the importance of gaining knowledge that can help them in their careers.”

With a host of business partners including L’Oreal, Savills and Blackberry at Pearson College, we have direct industry input into all our business courses, with employers giving an insight into the skills they are looking for when hiring Graduates, as well as hosting interactive workshops and events that allow students to work on real-life case studies, apply for internships and put their lesson-taught skills into practise.

Having this interaction with business has meant that many of our students are developing their own business ventures, utilising the contacts they have made, developing the skills they’ve learnt and all with the confidence of already being in a business environment.

"Working with universities such as Pearson College allows us to get a very different perspective on our products and services, as well as receive insight from customers. It's important that we help develop the next generation of insurers as well as providing some insights into how FTSE 100 businesses operate. Internships alongside events such as the recent hackathon can only benefit all the parties involved." John Hereward Shaw, Head of R&D and Innovation at Direct Line Group.