If you have completed your A-Levels, are business driven, with innovative ideas and are unsure of what to do next, it might be worth considering the new PJEA (Peter Jones Enterprise Academy) apprenticeships. Started in 2009 by Dragons Den star Peter Jones CBE, this higher level award aims to inspire a generation of entrepreneurs, allowing you to gain skills and confidence to pursue a business dream.
You may recognise the name from the BBC programme Dragons Den. One of Britain’s best and most-respected entrepreneurs, Peter Jones has a huge portfolio behind him and has personally invested in numerous businesses, he aims to reinvent the way these skills are learnt through education – effectively wanting to place the boardroom in the classroom. With so many Small Medium Enterprises in the UK, supporting the future of the British economy is essential, and the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy aims to provide the tools and training to enable bright minded individuals to pursue their dreams.
Introducing a brand new way to study, the PJEA Apprenticeships programme, also known as Level 5 Higher Apprenticeship in Business Innovation and Growth, aims to test and develop your business and entrepreneurial skills through a combination of on the job training and learning in a classroom. Designed for those who have an idea, commitment to the idea and are willing to put in the hard work to make it a reality, the apprenticeship is the perfect way to discover more about the world of enterprise. You will undertake real-life work experiences as well as specific study in one of the specialist colleges found nationwide.
The apprenticeship is partnered with a wide range of businesses that will provide you with master classes, work experience, entrepreneurial learning, business challenges and workshops. There is a variety of small, local businesses to the large international companies ensure that you get the knowledge and insight into what most interests you. 50% of the course will be taught by industry experts, giving you the real hands-on approach to business.
There are several top educational facilities that support the PJEA found across the UK. To find the most local training college to you, use the Find an Academy tool on the PJEA website, you could find a PJEA workshop close to where you live or you could decide to move and live away from home, therefore, you will have to consider student accommodation. When searching for a place to stay its important to choose the right accommodation for you – everyone will have different preferences and people will give you advise, but it’s your choice and the fact you are the one going to be living there, be sure to do your research.
The work that you will be doing will depend entirely on the type of business that you are placed into. Due to the nature of the apprenticeship, this role is likely to vary depending on the industry and size of the company; the course will be designed around you and your specific interests and workplace. You are guaranteed to learn about innovation and growth, applying your own innovative ideas to the company through projects outlined and decided on by you and your employer. Although it greatly varies, the following are some example roles:
• Product Development Executive – researching markets and testing ideas that you may have thought up.
• Business Development Executive – thinking up ideas to develop the business and its products.
• Project Executive – working to plan and execute projects within the company.
As you are studying at such a high level, the apprenticeship will typically take a minimum of two years to complete.
This is a difficult question to answer, and unfortunately, it is only you who can answer it! PJEA Apprenticeships are perfect for those with a business mind, who see the opportunity for new and innovative ideas to transform the inner workings of business, or for those who wish to start their own business ideas but are unsure of how to get there. This type of apprenticeship is ideal for those who have a committed idea and are passionate enough and have the drive and desire to see it through into practice. Ultimately it is your decision and no matter the opinions of others you should be the type of person who will not be swayed by peers, parents or teachers!
Throughout the PJEA Apprenticeship programme, you will be studying on a flexible timetable which will be discussed and arranged with your individual college. It is likely that you will spend one day a week in a college and the rest of the week learning on the job. Throughout the time studying the course you will be tested on a variety of assessments to gauge your technical knowledge and your ability to undertake these in the workplace, it’s essential that you are confident with exams by scheduling yourself exam revision sessions. You will also be assessed on one major project, which will test your ideas, planning and execution, within this project you must come up with a new idea to benefit your employer and put this into place at work.
You will be awarded a Level 5 BTEC (Diploma in Business Innovation and Growth – Find out, what is a BTEC). This is a well-respected award and holds a good level of credit.
You can apply for a PJEA apprenticeship as soon as you have finished your A Levels or equivalent level of grading. On applying you will be expected to have the equivalent of a Level 3 qualification, this equates to A Levels, Level 3 NVQ, BTEC Diploma or BTEC Nationals. You will also be required to have at least a GCSE in Mathematics and English. However, if you do not have any suitable qualifications, you may be accepted if you have several years of work experience.
If you haven’t yet achieved the grades needed for the PJEA apprenticeship level but know that the entrepreneurial route is for you, it is worth considering the two levels available at the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy prior to the apprenticeship level. The Peter Jones Enterprise Academy also offer two prior levels. BTEC Level 3 Enterprise and Entrepreneurship which requires four A*-C grades including English and Maths at GCSE level and they offer BTEC Level 2 Understanding Enterprise and Entrepreneurship which requires for D-G GCSE grades. On achieving these earlier levels, you will then be able to continue to the higher PJEA apprenticeship Level 5 Higher Apprenticeship in Business Innovation and Growth.
Having achieved the PJEA, you will easily stand out from the crowd while applying for jobs, the benefit of a unique qualification is that you will have plenty to talk about at any sort of interview and will be intriguing to potential employers. The hands-on approach and widely respected personnel behind the course will give you both skills and experience vital to so many different routes of employment or further study. You may be able to apply for a more managerial role within your current employment or seek employment within a different organisation, the skills you will have learnt will be highly regarded by many companies. This is also a good option for those who strive to be self-employed. This apprenticeship will give you the basis to understand how to be an entrepreneur and many people go on to successfully pursue their business idea.
You can also continue within higher level qualifications in enterprise or business management, this option will allow you to develop your skills further and could result in achieving a higher position within employment. If you have just completed either the BTEC Level 2 or the BTEC Level 3 at one of the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy, you can then progress onto the higher PJEA apprenticeship should you wish to gain this extra qualification.
Don’t panic! Apprenticeships are not for everyone. If you’re interested in study within the business sector, a Business degree could be something that may interest you. Perhaps you have never thought about attending university before, but it’s something you should consider! It’s always important to choose the right university that suits you best, some people prefer coursework over exams, so finding the right balance for you is essential. Understandably, university may be a daunting prospect, so it’s highly recommended to visit a university open day, this provides a feel for university life and can help you with your future decisions.
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