Preston College

Preston’s College joins elite Gazelle Group

News - Monday, 7th October, 2013

Gazelle CollegesPioneering Preston’s College has joined the coveted ranks of the UK’s most enterprising further education colleges.

The college – which has just changed its name to reflect a raft of wider changes at the Fulwood-based campus – has joined the acclaimed, invitation only, Gazelle group.

This is a select group of just 20 colleges spread across the whole of the UK, which are committed to giving their learners a truly entrepreneurial mindset and enterprising skills to help their business careers flourish.

The Gazelle Group works directly with Government and also counts leading entrepreneurs such as Peter Jones and Doug Richards from Dragons’ Den and Claire Young from ‘The Apprentice’ amongst its members.

The news represents a major step forward in the college’s ambition to become one of the top ‘enterprising colleges’ in the country.

Dr Lis Smith, Principal and Chief Executive at Preston’s College, said: “Developing entrepreneurial and enterprising skills are absolutely critical in a 21st-Century economy.

“We are delighted to have been accepted to join the Gazelle group.  This is an important step forward and underlines our clear intent to become one of the top ‘enterprising colleges’ in Britain.”

The Gazelle group’s aim is to equip all their learners with an entrepreneurial mindset – to be confident, innovative, resilient, enterprising and willing to ‘have a go’.  ‘Enterprising colleges’ are committed to learning in combination with real-life workplace-based experience and the chance to work on ‘live’ work projects to help prepare students for personal, social and economic success.

“We’re determined to provide the best opportunities for success for our students and provide a clear pathway into employment,” said Dr Smith.

“We want our track record for this to be second-to-none – as many students and parents recognise this approach is so crucial in Britain today.

“We place a strong emphasis on vocational as well as academic skills for students and being ‘workplace-ready’ through genuine interaction with employers throughout the learning experience.

“It is a strong point of difference for us that Preston’s College is recognised nationally for producing high-calibre, award-winning students, who are well-balanced and fully ready for the workplace. This comes on top of the high level of academic achievement.”

Plans have been announced for a proposed £3 million enterprise centre, featuring business concept development areas for entrepreneurial students and to encourage new business ideas and concepts.

Joining the elite Gazelle group follows major improvements for the college – which has over 17,000 students and adult learners – over the past three years.

This culminated in Preston’s College learners achieving over a 90% exam success rate for 2012/13 – its best ever results and a 5% improvement on last year’s score, moving the college up into the best performing colleges in the country.

Dr Smith added: “At Preston’s College everything we do is based on a simple but effective formula: success equals achievement and employability skills plus enjoyment,” the Principal added. “We are building the future of the college around these principles to give our students the best possible chance of building the lives they want through careers they enjoy.”

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