In our view, entrepreneurship describes a state of mind which strives to solve problems rather than accept defeat. We don’t think everyone should set up a business, although we want to help those that wish to. We do believe that an entrepreneurial mind-set gives people the life skills to achieve whatever it is they want to achieve. We are seeking out innovative solutions to help more young people succeed, be ‘life ready’, ‘work ready’ and independent.
Sir Rod Aldridge, Patron
We have a strong focus on enterprise across the Trust.
We want all our students to leave school with the qualities that prepare them to be confident and ready for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead of them.
This approach includes promotion of our Aldridge Attributes, links to business partners, bespoke careers advice and guidance, sourcing bursaries and preferred places in apprenticeships and university courses.
We aim to offer all our students a range of experiences that build their cultural capital, and work experience that is genuinely useful to them in exploring career possibilities. Our vocational courses are practical and hands-on and engage students in the real-world application of the theory they are learning.
In our academies, the development of these key skills is integrated into all areas of school life. We focus on the development of enterprising qualities, rather than only teaching business skills. These qualities, known as the Aldridge Attributes, include passion, determination, risk-taking, problem-solving, teamwork and creativity.
The Trust and our students benefit greatly from the work of our sister organisation, the Aldridge Foundation charity, which was established by Sir Rod Aldridge in 2006 to create positive, sustainable social and economic impact by putting enterprise skills and an entrepreneurial mind-set at the heart of young people’s education.
The Aldridge Foundation works with our CEO and Trust Board to develop our joint approach to enterprise and entrepreneurship including how to support schools with embedding an entrepreneurial culture. The Foundation raises funds and creates partnerships to enable the academies to be able to provide enrichment programmes and interactions with commercial and social organisations. These are designed to widen the experiences of students and to enable schools to undertake wider work with their communities, thus contributing to the economic development of the areas in which they operate.
The support of the Foundation means we can offer Aldridge students university residential schools and high-fliers initiatives; adventure training and residential therapeutic experiences; and international sports and educational experiences. It develops Aldridge Creates – flexible, modern start-up workspaces for young entrepreneurs and members of the community, housed inside some of our schools, and develops partnerships that deliver vocational experience for Aldridge students.
Our schools and students have won numerous awards for entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial education. Darwen Aldridge Community Academy, for example, was named one of eleven schools from countries across Europe to have won the Entrepreneurial School of the Year Award 2015, a national and European recognition of the best schools championing entrepreneurship education.