Publishing house Pearson has unveiled its new higher education college and at the same time has become the first FTSE 100 company to directly offer degrees in the UK.
The college, which belongs to the owner of Penguin Books and the Financial Times, says that it is keen to recruit entrepreneurial students in a bid to equip them with the knowledge and skills that employers are looking for. It has worked with a range of businesses such as telco BT, IT network vendor Cisco, children's charity the Peter Jones Foundation and IT services firm Atos to design its 'Pearson Business and Enterprise' degree course, which will focus on preparing students for the world of business. Roxanne Stockwell, the College's managing director. said: "We have a network of blue chip industry relationships, many of whom are working with us on the design and delivery of our degree programmes. This gives us an inherent understanding of the modern business environment and employer needs. Our degrees will, therefore, embed professional work experience, business skills and etiquette, with significant and relevant input from our industry partners." Students will graduate with a BSc (Hons) degree validated by Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, which are part of the University of London. They will study in a corporate environment at Pearson's offices in London or Manchester and also take part in a residential course at Royal Holloway's campus. The degree includes a guaranteed internship programme and will see a company-based mentor alloted to every student. Pearson College is currently recruiting a small cohort of pioneers to start in September, ready for its main launch the following year. Applicants will undergo an Oxbridge-style assessment day, which includes an interview and aptitude test. While standard entry requirements are ABB at A-Level (or equivalent), the college said that it would also consider students with potential, evaluating their ability and motivation levels rather than simply their previous academic achievements. Tuition fees are set at £6,500 a year and, subject to designation by Student Finance England, participants will be able to claim a loan for fees via the Student Loans Company. Pearson is also offering ‘Performance Scholarships’ to cover the course fees for the very brightest. Its degree will be flexible and students can choose from three options. The traditional three-year format follows the same yearly pattern as traditional universities. But participants can also choose to complete the course in only two years by working over the summer or combine work and study to complete it in four years.