Students have exclusive access to top entrepreneurial talent

Gateshead College has strengthened its position as the region's leading entrepreneurial college after becoming the Entrepreneurs' Forum's exclusive further education partner.

The move will see the college become one of Forum's seven strategic partners, reflecting its commitment to providing students with the confidence and skills to become the region's next generation of successful entrepreneurs.

The college will benefit from access to the expertise and experience of Forum members, who include successful business leaders like John Hays, managing director of Hays Travel, Sage's chief executive Paul Walker and Tom Maxfield, the driving force behind Tom's Companies.

Students will participate in entrepreneurial events and initiatives that would normally be unavailable including the Entrepreneurs' Forum's  annual conference 'Who Dares Wins' which takes place later this month.

The college is pioneering a new approach to education which focuses on equipping all students with an entrepreneurial skills set and is a founding member of Gazelle, a company created by five college principals who include Richard Thorold, Gateshead's principal and CEO.

The Gazelles have an exclusive focus on building a recognisable cluster of entrepreneurial colleges within the next five years.

Robin Mackie, chairman of Gateshead College and co-founder, chief technology officer and senior vice president of Smith Electric, said: "Education needs to change radically if we are to give our students the skills they need to create their own opportunities or to help them be a first class employee.

"With an entrepreneurial approach to teaching, across the whole college, students will develop skills and qualities which will give them a greater chance of success in life and work and which will ultimately help drive our regional economy.

"Using the resources and expertise of the Entrepreneurs' Forum and its members will be important as we make the transformation to becoming an entrepreneurial college".

The Entrepreneurs' Forum was established in 2002 for the good of individuals, business and the North East.  It exists to support entrepreneurs, and to inspire and encourage growth and wealth creation in the North East.

Its members include some of the region's best known business leaders, and their contribution to the economy includes a combined turnover of £6.9bn and 34,000 employees.

Nigel Mills, chairman of the Entrepreneurs' Forum, said: "I'm delighted to welcome Gateshead College as a new partner.

"We're really looking forward to working with Gateshead College. We share the aim of creating wealth and business growth in the North East and we're excited by their vision for transforming education. Together I hope we can inspire students to be employers and entrepreneurial employees.

"The college's approach to the adoption of entrepreneurship and embedding this throughout its DNA is innovative and sets a blue print for way business skills and behaviours should be taught."