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Business Mentoring Session: October 2016

Business mentors help students tackle real-life problems

On Monday the 17th of October a group of nine Year 10 students at FHS took part in their first business mentoring session of the Community-Apprentice competition with volunteers from Burges Salmon, an independent UK law firm.

The mentors have generously agreed to support the students at key points in the ten-month programme, which, like the TV series The Apprentice, requires students to demonstrate personal qualities whilst working in teams to manage their own projects. In this case, however, the students will be competing to see who can make the biggest positive impact on their community, rather than the most profit.

Tackling real-life problems

The programme, which has recently been recognised by the Department of Education as an effective model for employer engagement, inspires students to develop their employability skills while tackling real-life problems.

Students can tackle whatever issues matter most to them, but they have to reach consensus within their team about what that is. Team Hopefulness have decided to tackle homelessness and Team BrisComReGen want to focus on community regeneration. In the first mentoring session, mentors heard why the teams had chosen these issues and reviewed their initial project ideas, providing advice on effective project planning.

Emma Andrews, one of the business mentors, said, “I really enjoyed meeting the students and hearing them talk with such enthusiasm and passion about the issues they have chosen. I am looking forward to hearing about their project plan and helping them to develop their confidence and communication skills before they pitch to the Dragons in December.”

Developing employability skills

The competition requires students to develop and, crucially, evidence four key skills; teamwork, resilience and problem solving, organisation and communication. In the first mentoring session, mentors provided students with examples to demonstrate how valuable these skills are in their own jobs. They then supported the students to each set a goal for which skill they would like to improve most and how they can do this during the programme.

Throughout the Community-Apprentice competition, teams take part in inter-school challenges. The first of these, the Film Challenge, has just taken place and saw students develop teamwork and communication skills by producing a two minute film explaining why their issue matters in a single take! The next challenge, the Pitching Challenge, will require the teams to work with their business mentors to develop a pitch based on their project idea before they face a panel of ‘Dragons’; leaders in the local business community, in December. This will be an opportunity for the students to gain the confidence and skills needed to get their ideas across, standing them in great stead for the future. 



If a parent requires a paper copy of the information on the school's website, please contact us and this will be provided free of charge