The Aldridge Foundation and Bristol Business School are delighted to announce their partnership to create the Aldridge Institute for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship at the Bristol Business School. 

Guest author: Sir Rod Aldridge

As an entrepreneur I had the opportunity to found my own business – the Capita Group. Over a 22-year period I led the company’s development from a start-up with one employee, me, to the FTSE 100.

Today Capita employs 74,000 people, with annual revenues approaching £5 billion.

What is unusual about my story is that my opportunity didn’t come until I was 38. Having failed my 11-plus, my education didn’t equip me to succeed, and I left school at 16 to be a post boy in the local Council offices. Fortunately, my family gave me determination and self-belief. I built a successful career in the public sector and, at 38, was in a position to take my chance.

I don’t mind admitting that I feel angry about my education. How it didn’t develop my enterprising skills from a younger age. I wonder what I could have achieved in those 20+ years if it had been different.

Increasingly young people want to start their own businesses. To work in sectors where self-employment is more the norm. The pace of technological and economic change means that many of tomorrow’s careers are only being imagined today. More than ever young people need not only good qualifications but the skills to adapt and flourish in an ever-changing society.

I established the Aldridge Foundation because I’m passionate about transforming the life-chances of young people. I believe this can be achieved through education equipping them to develop an enterprising mind-set alongside gaining their academic qualifications. Through the schools in the Aldridge Education multi-academy trust we have ten years’ experience of doing just that.

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Aldridge and the Bristol Business School at UWE share very similar vison and values. We have a collective focus on employability and tackling the issues around social exclusion. On developing innovative, evidence-based approaches to embedding enterprising skills in teaching and learning.

And so I am delighted that we have agreed a partnership to create the Aldridge Institute for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship at BBS.

Led by a Professor of Enterprise & Entrepreneurship the Aldridge Institute will change thinking about how people learn and train teachers to teach in a different way. It will transform the skills young people develop in UK schools, colleges and universities, changing their futures and creating a more successful economy.

Coming at the end of Global Entrepreneurship Week I believe this is a really exciting development for UK students, educators and UK PLC.