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Future engineered

Young Entrepreneurs, a programme aimed at equipping 16 to 19-year-olds with valuable business skills to support their scientific or technological creativity, was launched this week.

The programme aims to give young engineers and scientists insight into the world of business, and an introduction to innovation and marketing in the workplace.

The students will study new product development, gaining venture capital, patenting and economic and environmental issues. In addition, they will learn key skills, such as communication and team working, in a business environment.

The programme has been piloted for the past 18 months by the Surrey Science and Technology Regional Organisation.

Young Entrepreneurs will form a natural expansion to the already successful Young Engineers, the national network of science, engineering and technology clubs in Britain's schools and colleges under whose management the programme will run.

Young Engineers clubs currently involve more than 12,000 student members in 900 schools and colleges.

The Young Entrepreneurs modular programme concentrates on five key aspects to aid progression from an engineering idea into a commercially viable product.

* Marketing Challenge links the students with industry and the Chartered Institute of Marketing. It gives them the chance to see the importance of marketing and provides an opportunity to work with real products in the marketplace.

* Innovation Challenge presents an existing industrial challenge and encourages students to apply their most creative engineering thinking to the development of a range of innovative and saleable products.

* Patenting workshops take students through the detailed process of protecting their ideas, ensuring they receive the right rewards and recognition of their work.

* Economic and social awareness helps students understand how industry contributes to the economic and social climate in which they operate.

* Presenting to the City gives students insight into gaining venture capital, what the City wants to hear and how to get a response.

Tim Maskell, national director of Young Engineers, said: "We are delighted that, through the Young Entrepreneurs programme, Young Engineers will now be able to complement their technical and scientific skills with important business expertise to ensure they have the complete knowledge base necessary to be our engineers of tomorrow."

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