If there’s any silver lining at all to our government’s determination to drive young people into debt via the Student Loans Co., it’s the fact that students today have never been so vocationally focused.
While I skipped the whole uni thing to pursue fame and fortune as a JPS Girl, I remember my student friends sitting around for endless evenings drumming their legs to Pink Floyd and discussing finer philosophical points. And this was in Essex.
There’s no space for such luxuries today. At Ambition House on the Canterbury Academy Campus,Knights Avenue, students are given an office, some training, and a real-life problem to solve.
It’s the brainchild of Marcus Ball, who in his spare time studying history founded the Canterbury Enterprise Group, a student community which raised thousands of pounds in support funds. The group was featured in the Independent and won a national award for its services to students in 2012.
Marcus rejected the London corporate route in favour of forming Ambition House and an app called Calnection.
“We like to work with people who dream big – people who want to go a long way, the motivated and brave ones,” says Ambition House on its website.
It’s up to the students to create business solutions and take them to market. Everything is done for real – there are no ‘demos’ or ‘simulations’. Students own the projects they work on; they make money if their project makes money.
Over 90 university students applied to Ambition House last year and 28 were accepted. The group plans to provide computer programming lessons to help make education more vocational.
In a separate initiative, the Canterbury Innovation Centre on the University of Kent campus will hold an awards ceremony on March 5.
Businesses and academics have been shortlisted for awards including the ICE (Innovation, Creativity and Enterprise) Award for an organisation or individual that has provided an outstanding contribution to the University’s innovation and enterprise agenda.
There’s also the Impact Through Knowledge Exchange Award where academics showcase a project that has had a big effect on the real world.
And then there’s the Early Career Researcher Award for any young whizz who can demonstrate the mutual benefit of external engagement in innovation and enterprise in 2013.
To be honest, I’m exhausted just thinking about. All power to the modern student.