'It's incredible seeing kids take the chance'

15 Feb 2017
PL Enterprise Challenge 2017 Play-Offs, Manchester, Bolton

Bolton teacher Dan Yeandle on how the Premier League Enterprise Challenge has made an impact on his school

"Bolton St Catherine's Academy lies in the heart of a community which is passionate about new opportunities and determined not to let barriers like social economic status limit its aspirations," says Dan Yeandle, a teacher at the school.

There are many businessmen and women who come from similar communities and, who knows, this Lancashire neighbourhood may well have the next Richard Branson living in its midst. 

"At Bolton St Catherine’s we have a growth mindset culture which helps our community understand that entrepreneurialism is about ideas, passion and hard work.

"We work hard to get our students out and engage them in different activities."

One such activity is the Premier League Enterprise Challenge, which uses football clubs' business models to deliver enterprise education to inspire young people and raise their aspirations and skills.

A five-strong team from St Catherine's entered last year and did so well that they won local heats to represent Bolton Wanderers Community Trust in the play-offs at Manchester City's Etihad Stadium this month.

"We wanted to get involved in the Challenge because we felt it was engaging with the community and enabled our students to get more of an active involvement in something they are passionate about, which is Bolton Wanderers," said Yeandle.

The team presented their business ideas aimed at increasing the popularity of their club in the United States, which included designs for a bespoke app, to a panel of judges.

PL Enterprise Challenge 2017 Play-Offs, Manchester, Bolton
Bolton St Catherine's Academy make their presentation at Manchester City's Etihad Stadium

St Catherine's were unable to progress to the finals next month (Woodchurch High School from Liverpool went through) but the effect of the programme has meant that it was already a success for the school.

"The grades the students are attaining in assessments have increased as we have been doing this project, which is phenomenal," Yeandle said. "It works.

"It's fantastic to have a tool like this because sometimes the message of what you need to do to hit your grades needs to come from an external source.

"Just having someone from Bolton Wanderers there, talking to the students about what employers want, what the judges want, that's massive."

Yeandle can see the impact the Enterprise Challenge had on last year's participants.

"The grades for the students who were involved have improved. Three of the five are now our prefects while one went to the Community Trust for his work experience.

"Apathy is one of the biggest problems in schools nowadays and this programme inspires them to change that mentality. 

"It's incredible seeing the kids take the opportunity they have been given."

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