KNUTSFORD’S business owners braved the ‘Den’ to talk to the town’s students about the world of work.

Knutsford Academy hosted a fun Dragons’ Den-style event on Friday, with year 12 students grilling a panel of Cheshire business owners to discover what will be expected of them when they start their careers.

The event was an opportunity for about 90 year 12 students studying to BTEC Level 2 in employability skills, to engage with employers about their course, its relevance to working life and to hear about the kind of skills employers look for in school leavers.

Facing the young dragons were business owners Janna Caley – a former Knutsford High student – from Knutsford-based Boxed Red Marketing, Tom Drury from Manchester-based Arrow Global, Gerry O’Keeffe from Micro P in Accrington and Matthew Townsend, who also went to the school, from Knutsford’s Ultimate Communications.

The event was chaired by Phil Orford, chief executive of the Forum of Private Business, the small business support organisation and lobby group which has its headquarters in Drury Lane in the town.

Before the ‘Den’ showdown, students had been learning about the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees, the benefits of team working and how to prepare for an interview, including CV writing skills.

The Forum’s Phil Orford, a governor at the Academy, said: “The aim of the event was to help youngsters – many of who will soon be going into the world of work – build self-esteem and grow their confidence, while learning about what real work life is all about.

“We often hear from our members that school leavers come to work lacking important skills, so this was a great way for this next generation of workers to learn what employers will expect of them.

“It was really interesting to hear from the sixth formers their views about working, and they were eager to hear the views of the local business men and women.”