The PIE Project – standing for ‘Primary Inspiration through Enterprise’ – is a charity founded by Ammar Mirza CBE whilst Chair of Governors at Tyneview Primary School in partnership with the Head Teacher Steve Gittins in 2013, with the aim to connect education to the world of work and enterprise. Founder of the Metro Centre, Sir John Hall is a patron and the board of trustees, chaired by Chris Beevers, bring together a vast range of experience from all sectors to add significant value.
PIE originally came together when four schools in Walker began to work together to set up a shop. Since then, over 100 schools and 5,000 pupils have taken part in PIE initiatives, helping the North East to lead the way in developing future career and life skills for pupils of all ages. PIE is also the first UK initiative that awards accredited Enterprise vocational qualifications to participants.
Traditionally, careers advice and work experience programmes are focused on secondary school aged children, specifically those over the age of 14. PIE aims to ensure that children of all ages have access to well-rounded and exciting enterprise and STEM experience through the Big PIE Challenge. Participating groups are given the tools and capital to plan and run their own businesses in partnerships with local businesses and entrepreneurs, as well as challenged to a series of mental and problem-solving tests.
Industry complains that it is unable to match the current workforce to the technical demand, businesses claim “they simply cannot get the staff.”
Current interventions that target 16-18 year olds are too late, we need to help engage and inspire young people early on.
Whilst there are some good initiatives that Primary Schools are able to purchase, these tend to be for one-off projects and delivered by academics. There is no sustained approach that clearly and consistently links the enterprise activities to local business.
Early intervention is key to ensuring our future generation are adequately and appropriately equipped to enter industry.
More importantly mapping out education to match their career aspirations and linking this to practical experience will significantly improve the pupils options.
This is an initiative led by the business community that aims to inspire, engage, and educate primary aged students in helping them understand and appreciate enterprise.
The project joins up local businesses directly with a primary school in that area. Together with engaging primary school pupils PIE uses existing Apprentices as role models for the younger generation this approach helps in communicating key messages and experiences that pupils can relate to.
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“We would recommend that any school gets involved with the Big PIE challenge as it brings a whole host of benefits for pupils.” Angela Robinson from Reid Street Primary School said, “With the emphasis that is evident from the DfE and Ofsted on; enterprise and aspiration, ability to communicate, employability skills, resilience, citizenship… these are crucial elements of a broad and rich curriculum.”