Jonathan Wheatley

In this story, Jonathan explains that he would not have been accepted onto his apprenticeship scheme if it wasn't for Young Enterprise, and being able to talk about his experiences from Company Programme.

Jonathan participated in Young Enterprise’s Company Programme in the sixth form at his secondary school in Halifax




Jonathan from Halifax completed his secondary education at a local state school. Although a good, attentive student, his preferred way of learning was more hands-on and practical, which did not always match traditional educational delivery. He also had a passion for football, always opting for any opportunity to play.

Jonathan was surrounded by examples of entrepreneurs, including his parents and grandfather, but was unclear on how to apply traditional learning to business pursuits and was unaware of Young Enterprise until he started sixth form and participated in the Young Enterprise Company Programme in 2017.

At the start, he was not necessarily clear on what the full extent of his learning would be. In a team of 17, Jonathan was keen to grab the opportunity with both hands. He was appointed the Managing Director (MD) of their student company (Imperium).

The company product was Brainy Bear, an educational resource themed on the World Cup in Russia 2018. Jonathan’s own love of football played a key part in this innovative way of engaging students who ordinarily may struggle with studying SATS.

“Everyone thought it was very cool, which is nice to hear”. Jonathan embraced both the experience but also the challenges that participating in programme provided.

By the time the company was wrapping up at the end of the year, it had gone from 17 down to 8. The year-long programme was not just about setting up a company.

“I learned meeting etiquette, teamwork, management skills, assigning roles based on expertise in the team, developing confidence, accountability and how every role fits together”.

Jonathan recognised that as a Managing Director, it is not always easy keeping a team motivated, particularly a team of 17. The recognition of accountability and ensuring that everyone plays their part was fundamental to Jonathan, as the MD for the company.

“It was the failing first that helped us move on. The practical skills that we had been taught in the beginning, and then applying that to our business.”

After completing the Company Programme, Jonathan went on to undertake an apprenticeship. He openly admits that University was not for him and acknowledged that he would not have necessarily got anything out of it. Instead, he wanted to continue to be able to apply learning to any future jobs.

“The Company Programme is directly linked to my apprenticeship. You learn by failing and overcoming those challenges. I would not have been accepted onto my apprenticeship if it was not for Young Enterprise and being able to talk about my experiences from the Company Programme”.

He is now in the final stages of completing his apprenticeship degree, and his role is Material Scheduler with MSK and oversees other apprentices undertaking the same route he took.

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