CCN has always worked very closely with the business community to provide the skills needed for the local economy. It was not until 1936 that the subject of business become firmly established as a key part of the curriculum. It has remained so ever since. Here are a few highlights from the last 80 years of business and retail at CCN.
The lasting legacy of F.W Taylor
Business became a central strand of our curriculum in 1936-7. This was when the College created the new Department of Commerce and Languages, headed by Mr F.W. Taylor. In its first year, the Department had 500 evening students. They were taught by a staff team of four full-time and 25 part-time teachers.
Following the War and the move to the new Ipswich Road campus, Mr Taylor presided over an expansion of courses within this area. By 1960-1, there were 2,200 students in the department. More than 300 of these were part-time. At this point, the Department of General Studies and Languages split off from the Department of Commerce.
When he retired as Head of Commerce in April 1962, Mr Taylor reflected on the more structured approach to business education that had been developed.
“A boy or girl [can] follow a systematic course of study, either part-time or full-time, from the age of 16, to prepare for the ordinary national diploma or ordinary national certificate in business studies. This can lead to the higher national diploma in business studies or the diploma in management”, reported the Norwich Evening News.
Mr Taylor called this structure, and the progression opportunities available, as “revolutionary changes” in commercial education. He also welcomed the prospect of Norwich banks and insurance companies beginning to send day release students to study at the College.
Management and marketing in the mix
Over the years that followed the College’s business courses changed with changing industry needs. More students progressed to the new business management courses. As advertising and marketing became more important , courses in marketing also became more common.
These have included short courses, such as the ground-breaking 10-week Public Relations course for non-marketing executives in 1975-6 (pictured). Staff from Eastern Counties Buses, Norwich City Council, Norfolk County Council and the Post Office were among those who attended.
It’s all about the competition!
The College has long recognised that students in our other vocational areas also need to learn about key business principles and practices. Consequently, elements of business, management, marketing and finance have made their way into many other courses. One way in which this learning has been brought to life has been through business-related competitions.
In 1988, secretarial students took part in an advertising and marketing competition to promote holidays on the Broads. The winning team of Rachel Carver, Gail Colby, Karen Sinclair and Kerry Atkinson (left) won book tokens for their efforts. Their prize was presented by Peter Hamilton from Norwich marketing group TPM Associates. Mr Hamilton said, “Norwich ad agencies and consultancies had better watch out if this lot decide to set up in competition”.
Among the more unusual competitions in recent years, we have seen students designing, marketing and selling underpants (for the Pants to Poverty “Pantrepreneur” competition). In another competition, students came up with ideas for new sandwich fillings for the Subway chain.
The rise of entrepreneurial education
Entrepreneurs and start-ups have always been a key part of the business landscape. Entrepreneurial education was given a renewed focus and boost in the late noughties and early 2010s. City College Norwich, in partnership with like-minded colleges elsewhere in the country, recognised the importance of this agenda. This led to the transformation of classrooms in the Blakeney Building into an exciting and very different type of learning space: The StartUp Lounge.
One of the VIP entrepreneurs who attended the official opening of the StartUp Liynge in February 2012 was Priya Lakhani, Founder of Masala Masala and SOCO. Ms Lakani said:
“The education system we currently have is built to push young people down the traditional route of employment which isn’t suitable for everyone. Young people today have the talent and creativity required to start their own business, and we need to do more to encourage them to dream big. Students at City College Norwich have a fantastic space to inspire them to fulfil their entrepreneurial dreams.”
We have certainly seen a great many talented students developing their entrepreneurial skills and thinking through the StartUp Lounge. These have included Barbara Reed (read her memories here) who put on a major employability event for our students, before going on to develop her own events company. Among many exciting opportunities this opened up, Barbara even got to meet Royalty when HRH The Duke of York visited the StartUp Lounge.
A fine (shopping) city
We all know that Norwich is a great place for shopping. Indeed the city has been regularly voted one of the top cities in the UK for retail. Retail is a hugely important sector to the economy, locally and nationally, with many great career opportunities. In 2011 the College took an exciting step to support retail training and careers. We opened our very own designer buy and sell boutique, ego, in Chapelfield Shopping Centre. This was accompanied by a retail training suite. ego is still going strong today, and is well worth a visit (ground floor, next to House of Fraser) if you haven’t discovered it yet.
Share your business and retail stories
Did you know F.W Taylor or study in the old Department of Commerce and Languages? Were you inspired to start up your own business in the StartUp Lounge? Or did you take part in any business competitions? We’d love to hear your story!