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DOOM and gloom in the jobs market has encouraged more people in the area to turn their hand to running their own business.

And as the number of people attempting to set up their own firm grows, Highbury College, Portsmouth, is offering support to ensure those just starting out succeed.

The college has introduced a host of new enterprise and entrepreneurship courses, including some accredited by the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy – which aims to provide students with the knowledge and experience to thrive in business.

These accredited courses will offer training, support and advice from industry professionals and are the first of their kind in the city.

The move comes as the Office for National Statistics released figures showing that an additional 230,000 people have declared themselves self-employed since 2008.

One of those was Trevor Field, who started his own website creation firm, Countrywide Web Solutions, around three years ago.

Mr Field, 50, of Howard Road, Hilsea, had worked as an engineer his whole life until being diagnosed with muscle wasting condition, Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease, at the age of 39.

He said: ‘I’d always worked on my feet operating machines all day, and all of a sudden I couldn’t do that any more.

‘And I’d reached the age where people didn’t want to retrain me, so starting my own business seemed like the only option.

‘It’s worked out really well and fits in with the new lifestyle I’ve been forced to lead through my disability because I’m not restricted to specific hours.’

The recent ONS figures also showed that unemployment is at a 16-year high, with the British jobless rate hitting 8.4 per cent.

Simon Paine, head of the college’s Centre for Entrepreneurship, believes setting up a business could be the answer for those unable to find a job.

‘It’s not an easy option because starting your own business requires a lot of confidence and self-motivation,’ he said.

‘But it is definitely a viable one, and there are many advantages in doing so.

‘It shows future employers that you have the get up and go to make things happen, and also gives you the chance to develop your own ideas and business skillset.’

For more information on PJEA courses at Highbury College which start in September, call (023) 9238 3131.