Students from Derwen College, near Oswestry, were given a unique opportunity to learn business skills and receive expert tips when they recently met Welsh cake entrepreneur Michael Beynon.

Michael Beynon, creator of Coal Pit Welsh Cakes, made a virtual visit to the College for young adults with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). He met with students on Hospitality & Food and Retail & Enterprise pathways online, to tell them about how he set up and runs his business.

Michael, who has Down’s Syndrome, launched the business back in October 2018 after following his love for both baking and local history. He used his grandmother’s and great-grandmother’s Welsh Cake recipe to develop his unique black Welsh Cake as a way to celebrate the lives of the miners from Ammanford, the mining town where he lives. Michael, who lives in Chirk, North Wales, said he always wanted to start his own business, despite his disability.

Derwen students found Michael inspirational and were really motivated by his work. Following their morning talk, some they said they felt encourage to start their own business.

Hospitality & Food student Jodie said she found his presentation fascinating and had enjoyed the opportunity to ask questions.

She said, “Michael started with just a £50 budget, and has grown to become an independent business which produces unique black Welsh cakes and traditional Welsh products.

“It made me think about the possibility of starting my own micro business one day.”

Derwen College Curriculum Manager Jennifer Fawcett-Jones said: “Thank you so much to Michael for taking the time to talk to our students about how he was able to set up a successful business from scratch.

Students asked lots of interesting questions, and were inspired to think about their own future ambitions.”

Derwen College supports young adults with SEND to accomplish their aspirations. For most, the goal is to achieve employment and maximum independence. Derwen College equips students with work experience, learning and qualifications which progress them towards work opportunities in the future.