North Hertfordshire College leads to sports business

Paul Klein & Darryl Stewart

Paul Klein & Darryl Stewart - Credit: Archant

North Hertfordshire College’s (NHC) tagline is “More than just a Qualification”, and that could not be more accurate for two of the college’s former students.

Darryl Stewart and Paul Klein set up the PKSA, (Paul Klein Skills Academy), in April 2012.

Darryl, 21 and Paul, who are both from Welwyn, have been best friends since secondary school and they both completed the same BTEC first diploma in sport course at NHC, which they started in 2008.

Paul, who left the college in 2010, is a professional football freestyler, has worked for big sport based companies, such as Nike and Adidas, working on their adverts with them.

The 22-year-old has also worked on adverts alongside famous football players like Cristiano Ronaldo.

While originally specialising in only football coaching at primary schools around Hertfordshire, PKSA now coaches students of primary school age on a multitude of other sports, such as cricket, athletics, rounders, netball and basketball, and as of next season, they will be starting a football team for children called PKSA Panthers.

The academy also holds morning, lunchtime and after school clubs.

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Darryl, who left the college in 2011, spoke to Comet intern Chloe Burden who was chosen for the role after being part of this year’s Big Student Takeover,

He said: “With the sports academy we are different because we teach children an element of football freestyle to allow children to express themselves and enjoy their football.”

The friends decided to set up the company as Mr Stewart was unhappy in his job at the time, while Mr Klein was already coaching football.

While the pair were at college they discussed setting up a business together.

Mr Stewart said: “It’s one of those things you talk about.”

Gordon Barr, the college’s vice principal for entrepreneurship and student enterprise, often gave them advice while they were at college, advice which helped to spur the two on.

Mr Stewart said: “We’re ahead of schedule, but nowhere near where we want to be. But looking from the outside in, it’s been successful.”