Create Your Future: Barking & Dagenham College students on running business ‘pods’ on campus

Charlie Makaveli (left) with a colleague and teacher Fiz Houssein (right)

Charlie Makaveli (left) with a colleague and teacher Fiz Houssein (right) - Credit: Archant

Young business minds are given opportunities to bloom at Barking & Dagenham College.

Mary Morris, 19, (left) and Bardha Krasmiqi, also 19

Mary Morris, 19, (left) and Bardha Krasmiqi, also 19 - Credit: Archant

With its own pop up shops — known as “pods” — and three restaurants each run by students there is a hive of activity and learning going on outside of the standard classroom hours.

Mature computing student Ellen Kerr, 36, helps run IT repair shop 2Fix Solutions, which occupies one of the pods at the Rush Green campus alongside a photography studio, florist and stationers.

“It makes it a more hand on experience for us,” she said. “We have learned all of it [in the classroom] so we might as well put it into practice while we are learning.”

Charlie Makaveli, 29, is learning floristy at the college — one of only two men on the course, though the industry itself recognises a number of top male designers.

The former West Ham academy footballer also runs florists Blooming Delicious on site.

“I’ve kept it running for the experience,” he said. “It has been a challenge but you take more positives from that negatives that you have.”

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He added becoming a florist would be the fulfilment of a life-long dream.

Sharing the space alongside Charlie are the founders of the Pop Pic Studio, set up last October by a group of female photography students.

Co-founder Mary Morris, 19, said: “It was exciting. I thought it would be nice to get a taste of running a studio.”

The group were employed by Lloyds Bank to take pictures at one of its award ceremonies and have even been helping out a fellow student who is an aspiring male model with his portfolio.

New recruit Bardha Krasmiqi, also 19, said: “It’s a new experience so everything is new to me. It is good because we realise what every other studio is like and what we need to do to get ourselves out there.”

Mary added: “It has been nice to be professional and go to these big companies where we have to be professional and got the chance to meet with new people and clients.”

Students from Barking & Dagenham College are set to takeover the Barking and Dagenham Post newspaper next month.

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