STUDENTS in West Oxfordshire are to be coached by business leaders to give them a real life insight into the world of work.

The Futures Partnership has been formed to bring students at Abingdon and Witney College together with entrepreneurs from Witney Business & Innovation Centre and across the district.

Created to link with courses followed by students, several events have already been earmarked to help give them the skills to succeed in business.

Amy Phillips, 17, of Burford is studying for a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Business and will benefit from the scheme.

She said: “It’s a good opportunity for students, the college and businesses. The partnership will also gain greater recognition for our course.”

Upcoming events include a Dragons’ Den-style day at the Kassam Stadium in Oxford, and an entrepreneurship and networking day at Witney Business and Innovation Centre.

Mark Byerley, faculty lead of the Oxfordshire Business & Enterprise School at Abingdon and Witney College, said: “In an increasingly competitive market, providing our students with the opportunity to interact with business leaders is invaluable.

Students will make useful contacts and hopefully some will become the business leaders and entrepreneurs of the future.”

As well as the Futures Partnership events, the Business & Innovation Centre will offer its first apprenticeship to a student from the college.

The successful applicant will receive useful training in business administration while also being exposed to different businesses.

Centre manager Stephanie Henwood said: “We hope that in future some of those who attend events this year will in a couple of years come to us to take office space for their own business.”