This week I was pleased to welcome pupils from Matyas Kiraly Gimnazium in Fonyod in Hungary, Nicolaus Copernicus Gymnasium in Kolobrzeg in Poland and pupils from a local school Devonport High School for Girls. One of the themes that these three schools are exploring as part of their Erasmus + project is Social Enterprise. There are many other objectives for their project, however the Monday session at the Plymouth University mainly focused on Social Enterprise.
Social enterprises trade to improve communities, people’s life chances, the environment and to tackle social problems. They make their money from selling goods and services in the open market, but they reinvest their profits back into the business or the local community. And so when they profit, society profits (Social Enterprise UK).
Erasmus+ is the European Union programme for education, training, youth and sport. It runs for seven years, from 2014 to 2020, with organisations invited to apply for funding each year to undertake creative and worthwhile activities. Erasmus+ aims to modernise education, training and youth work across Europe. It is open to education, training, youth and sport organisations across all sectors of lifelong learning, including school education, further and higher education, adult education and the youth sector. It offers exciting opportunities for UK participants to then study, work, volunteer, teach and train abroad in Europe (Erasmusplus.org).
The United Kingdom, Plymouth University, South West region and the city of Plymouth itself are leading bodies when it comes to Social Enterprise.
Plymouth was the first university in the world to be awarded the Social Enterprise Mark in recognition of working as a genuine social enterprise, caring for communities and protecting the planet. As well as being a social enterprise in its own right, Plymouth University acts as a driving force, using world-class research and entrepreneurial expertise to boost social enterprise in the community, helping to drive sustainable growth by creating jobs, wealth and social cohesion (Plymouth University).
Plymouth was the first city to also be awarded the Social Enterprise Mark. In Plymouth and the surrounding area there are around 150 Social Enterprises, employing approximately 7000 people and creating an income of £500 Million.
As part of the visit, we also visited the Marine Building, home to the Coastal, Ocean And Sediment Transport laboratory (COAST), the Marine Navigation Centre, the Marine Innovation Centre and the Marine Institute. COAST laboratory was opened in October 2012 and it is a flexible facility with the capability to generate short and long-crested waves in combination with sediment dynamics, tidal effects, wind and currents in any relative direction.
The pupils enjoyed their visit to Plymouth University and were excited about their week ahead that is filled with workshops, lectures, visits and excursions.
I wish them all good luck with their Erasmus + project and success in it’s objectives.
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