CYCLING on their quirky bike, City of Oxford College students are taking their business skills to another level.

Foundation level students at the college in Oxpens Road are responsible for The Shop, which opened on the campus in November, and gives staff and students a place to get drinks, snacks and essentials.

The team were given a £500 business loan from college management to start up and market the enterprise – and have paid it back within two months of opening.

The project is run by the college’s foundation studies department and gives its students the chance to develop commercial and social skills in a live, retail environment.

It has been so successful they have even started a milk delivery service where students go around the different departments of the college as well as one local business to give them their morning pinta.

Student, Ashley Chambers, 18, said: “Working in The Shop gives you more experience and builds your confidence.

“I enjoy organising the deliveries and dealing with customers.

“You can take the experiences you learn here to your next course or into employment. It makes you feel more ready to move on.”

Learning manager for foundation studies Amanda Cherry said: “There had been a retail outlet at the college for the past few years to give students work experience in a live retail environment, but we saw the potential to create a business enterprise.

“We recruited a job coach called Luisa Cantale and set about re-launching The Shop. We did a lot of market research to find out the sort of things that other students and staff wanted to buy.

“The milk delivery service has also gone down very well. The students have to learn to be on time with their deliveries to the different curriculum areas around the college. We even deliver to a business near the college.”

Ian Francis, principal of City of Oxford College, said: “The Shop is a great opportunity for our foundation studies students to develop additional skills which will help them in work and in life. This is about more than work experience, it is about embedding real-world, commercial operations into our study programmes.”