New scheme tells young people how to ‘Be your own boss’

Young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) are being given a new lease of life thanks to a former Dyson Perrins High School student and a star of BBC’s Dragons’ Den.


Beryl Cuckney is using money from her successful coaching firm - Malvern Business Academy - to fund a new scheme called ‘Be Your Own Boss’. The programme helps provide young people with the skills they need to be successful entrepreneurs and is backed by The Peter Jones Enterprise Academy, which was founded by Dragons’ Den’s Peter Jones CBE.


Beryl decided to launch the programme after returning to Malvern Hills District following a successful international career and deciding she wanted to give something back to the community.


The scheme was originally launched as a pilot in association with Fortis Living Housing Association. Staff from Malvern Hills District Council’s Economic Development team have also been supporting the project.


So far six young people have completed the 14 week course, attaining BTEC 2 Certificates in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship and Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Skills Certificates.


Beryl said: “Our view is that if you are not employed by someone else, technically you are self-employed, but no-one teaches that skill to young people. I have been overwhelmed by the support from other local businesses who have given their time freely including Worcestershire Enterprise Ltd, Key IQ, Charles Hinnitt Associates, WinBiz and Worcester Business School.”


Stuart Allen, of Worcestershire Enterprise Ltd who tutored on the latest programme, said:  “In order for them to engage in the learning I must first sell them something they have long since lost - hope!

“The students have all been able to start believing in their potential, connecting with the world of work and going on to gain apprenticeships, full-time work, self-employment or continuing education.” 


Phil Merrick, Head of Economy and Communities at Malvern Hills District Council, added: “It’s quite clear that Beryl has started something amazing here in Malvern with life changing  results for the young people who took part. Whilst we have small numbers of young people who are NEET here in the district, the long term impact of youth unemployment can be devastating. Helping even one person to overcome setbacks and get back on track makes a big difference to the individual, their families, the community and ultimately to the public purse.”


The next ‘Be Your Own Boss’ course starts in April. Contact Beryl Cuckney for more information by emailing or call 01684 562169.