Tell us about yourself and how you got involved with Young Enterprise?
I am currently a third-year student at the University of Birmingham studying BSc Psychology, with hopes of going into Marketing or Human Resources after I graduate. I went to St Helen’s School in Northwood and completed A-Levels in Biology, Economics and Psychology. The Young Enterprise Company Programme was offered to me at the start of Year 12 and I was originally very hesitant to participate as I wasn’t sure whether I had the appropriate skills or knowledge to create and run my own business. However, it seemed like an interesting experience and a good opportunity to face my fears, so after further conversations with my teacher, I decided to sign up and began my Young Enterprise journey.
What do you remember from your experience?
My time with Young Enterprise was very memorable as it was completely different to anything I had experienced before. Over the course of the year, I felt completely submerged in a whole new world, with weekly business meetings, presentations, trade fairs and awards ceremonies. Young Enterprise managed to make the programme feel so real that it engaged with us on a new level and helped us to feel passionately about our business.
What did you learn through your Young Enterprise experience?
My experience with Young Enterprise was very beneficial for me as it allowed me to challenge myself and throw myself into something completely unlike my time at school or home. It gave me the opportunity to learn how to have more confidence in my abilities and develop my character in a unique way. My time with Young Enterprise also taught me to be able to think quickly and rationally and this still helps me with problem solving. I think one of the main things I developed was a sense of resilience which is imperative when you begin to work. It has given me the capacity to recover quickly from difficult situations and I really believe that this is a crucial skill that a lot of young people need to learn.
Has participation in Young Enterprise influenced your plans for the future?
I think that my experience with Young Enterprise provided me with enough insight to guide my future career path. I was able to throw myself into a range of varying roles and this helped me to realise what I would and would not be interested in pursuing. I thoroughly enjoyed acting as Human Resources director, however I loved the creative side of the Marketing roles. Creating advertisements and helping with the formation of our website really appealed to me and I began to realise that this would be something I would be interested in doing as a career. I think that without my experience at Young Enterprise, I would not be quite so sure of what field of work I would like to go into and a lot of other young students suffer with this same dilemma, therefore it would be a good idea to take on a more hands-on, practical approach.
What advice would you give to the students taking part in the Company Programmes?
My best advice for any participants of the programme is to not be scared about voicing your views and thoughts to others. As someone who used to be quite nervous and shy, I was always worried that people would be critical of my opinions and disregard them. However, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and there is no better situation to fully immerse yourself and give it your all. I would also stress to new participants to explore each role within the company so that you get a comprehensive understanding of what different parts of a business does. This can really help you in the future when you are trying to choose a career path.
Do you think opportunities like Young Enterprise are important for young people? Why?
Opportunities like this really can be life-changing. It is so important to work with young people regarding finance and employment as it can be very inspiring for them and change their whole outlook on their lives. It is very rare that young people know what kind of path they want to follow after school, and as much as your school or parents can help, there is no better way to figure it out than with a practical opportunity. It can also give children, from all different types of backgrounds, the chance to succeed and thrive in whatever they choose to do, which may not have been manageable prior to the programme. Young people can be quite vulnerable and naïve to the world of work, but Young Enterprise provides them with the chance to drive their own futures and be the best versions of themselves.
Shriya took part in the Young Enterprise team at St Helen’s School, Northwood in 2015. Her student company developed a multipurpose drink and snack container ‘Sip’O’Snack’ the team went on win the JA European final.