Picture: Student Kyle Ellis, who organised the Local Entrepreneurs
Conference, with the event's guest speakers, from left Bryan Jones,
Paul Monk and Steve Pattenden

WorKingOptions presents to the Luton Sixth Form College Local Entrepreneurs Conference

21st March 2013

Budding entrepreneurs told ‘believe you can do anything you want’ 

It’s been some 35 years plus since Paul Monk, Bryan Jones and Steve Pattenden were students at Luton Sixth Form College. And while things may have been a little different back then, they formed a friendship and learned skills that were to stand them in good stead in their later working lives. And the trio of entrepreneurs returned to college to pass on their wisdom to students who, four decades on, are hoping to follow in their footsteps. They were the guest speakers at the Local Entrepreneurs Conference, which had been organised by students at the end of last term. It was aimed at the Career Academy cohort along with anyone else studying business or wanting to pursue a corporate career.

Mr Monk, whose background is in the food and drink industry, is no stranger to the college nowadays, through the work undertaken by the educational support organisation he founded, WorKingOptions. Mr Pattenden is the proprietor of Double S Travel, based in Talbot Road, Luton, and Mr Jones set up and runs Redbourn-based print centre Print-force.com. They told students about their working lives to date - a colourful and varied ride which included stops at the Vauxhall factory in Luton, working in New York for a number of years, and helping to introduce drinks can vending machines into the UK.

And they gave the audience some useful tips, too. Mr Pattenden said: “Don’t worry if you don’t know what to do right now. Experiment about what things you think you want to do and just experience them.

“If you do know where you want to go, set yourself up so you’ve got a little bit of a fallback position. Don’t shut all the doors until you’re absolutely certain. If something doesn’t work don’t be afraid to alter the direction you are going in.” Mr Jones added: “Networking is important. As you go through life you build up contacts, friends, and colleagues, and one day they may be in a position to give you a little help up to the next rung of the ladder.

“Believe in yourself, believe you can do anything you set your mind to do and believe you have the confidence to do it. Give it everything you’ve got.”

After their talks, the guest speakers fielded questions from the audience of more than 40 students, followed by a more informal networking opportunity.