A PIONEERING school designed to help teenagers set up their own businesses has opened in Huddersfield.

And Kirklees Youth Enterprise Centre, which has grants of up to £5,000 for people aged 14 to 19, could be the first of its kind in the UK.

Kirklees Youth Enterprise Centre (KYEC) hopes to provide Kirklees’ youngsters with the skills and money to establish their own enterprises.

KYEC opened on Monday following a £4.9m pledge from the European Regional Development Fund and the Department of Education.

The centre – currently at the Creative and Media Studio School, Netherhall Learning Campus, Rawthorpe – is run by the media school.

But the centre will soon have a building of its own.

A new building to accommodate 300 young people and 10 new staff on the Netherhall site is expected to be completed by 2013 – and will be financed from the £4.9m pot.

Youngsters accessing the school, which will be co-run by Kirklees Council, will each be given a business mentor as well as talks and workshops in how to run a business.

Students will be offered start-up money in exchange for credible business plans which they will be expected to present to a panel at the centre in the style of BBC2’s Dragons’ Den.

In order to give young people a flavour of a how a business works the school will run a number of ‘test trading’ businesses.

Here young people will get a taste of running a business – with real clients and real issues to deal with – in a controlled and managed environment.

The school was officially opened yesterday evening with pupils, parents, staff and dignitaries attending.

KYEC principal Joan Young said: “It has been a very long journey to get to this point, but the opening of the KYEC is a major landmark for Kirklees and we are looking forward to helping many young people gain the support they need to set up successful businesses.”

For more information about Kirklees Youth Enterprise Centre call: 01484 221892 or visit http://studio-school.org.uk/2012/10/kirklees-youth-enterprise-centre-background-information