To further support the development of enterprise skills and entrepreneurship in our schools the we have established Aldridge Creates – flexible, modern start-up workspaces for young entrepreneurs – both from amongst our students and members of the community – housed inside schools.

The first Aldridge Creates pilot, Darwen Creates, was established at Darwen Aldridge Community Academy, when it moved to a new, state-of-the-art building in September 2010. This success in nurturing young businesses has led to the pilot being rolled-out across more of the academies. The newest addition, Kensington Creates, was established in 2014 and has already supported nearly 50 student and community-run enterprises.

As well as a physical space for businesses, Aldridge Creates plans to provide services and support for young businesses. Linking business and education in such proximity has a powerful effect on communities which have been starved of ambition. But no matter how important these centres are to the students and the community – they cannot rely on funding from ever-shrinking school budgets.

On a visit to the Academy in May 2016 Under Secretary of State for Education Lord Nash said that “Kensington Creates is clearly helping to inspire the students as well as being extremely beneficial to entrepreneurs. The Academy is a clear example of how linking business with education can drive aspiration. It was excellent to hear the students speak so enthusiastically about their school and the opportunities they have.”

AAldridge Createsldridge Creates has been developed and is being rolled out by our sister charity, the Aldridge Foundation. The Foundation plans to provide services and support for young businesses, as well as offering them a physical space to work from. Linking business and education in such proximity has a powerful effect on communities which have been starved of ambition. But no matter how important these centres are to the students and the community – they cannot rely on funding from ever-shrinking school budgets. The support our Trust receives from the Foundation puts us in a unique position to develop the life-skills of our students alongside their academic qualifications, and offer them opportunities they would otherwise not have to gain the confidence of testing those skills in real situations.