“Students who have completed the programme, whether they study Business Studies or not, are able to become better problem solvers, independent thinkers, team players and above all, develop their resilience. We have found that real life application and experience through the Company Programme has ensured students develop a wide variety of transferable skills.”
What was your attraction to Company Programme?
We have taken part in the programme for many years within Queen Ethelburgas. Katie and I have completed the Company Programme for the last four years – the attraction is that it provides excellent ‘on the job’ learning of skills needed for life. Students who have completed the programme, whether they study Business Studies or not, are able to become better problem solvers, independent thinkers, team players and above all, develop their resilience. We have found that real life application and experience through the Company Programme has ensured students develop a wide variety of transferable skills.
This year, we were hoping to continue to bring students from different year groups and nationalities together in order to complement the teamwork that already happens within Young Enterprise. Each student completed a mini ‘interview’ to join the programme due to its popularity in our school. Everyone prepared exceptionally well, and all bought different skills to the group.
How would you describe your students before the programme in terms of their key skills? What skills do you feel the students have now gained?
Students came to the group with several different skills but not ‘tried and tested’ in many cases, using real life application.
Some of the group had great skills in terms of financial planning and costing, others had strengths in operations and design. We also had some excellent marketing ideas coming from the group. The programme enabled the skills to come together but at the start this was very disjointed.
The skills that each member of the team has gained over the course of the last year has been incredible and continues digitally today. Resilience in times of adversity and challenge is by far the main skill learnt by all – students who have encountered failed product ideas, prototypes, initial sales and of course now the time-zone difference working remotely due to physical school closures.
Innovation of their product idea is something all team members are immensely proud of. Their product ‘Easy Fold’ was engineered in-house after seeing a similar-use product. They made Easy Fold (a product to help you to fold your clothes more efficiently and effectively) more compact, environmentally friendly, cost effective and fun, compared to their nearest competitors.
Why was it important to you and the students to continue digitally?
The group spent the first 4 months of their YE journey facing many tough challenges; failed product ideas, issues with production and then a reduction in team numbers. The current situation has been extremely testing, more so as now our students are working across different countries, time zones etc. It’s important to continue as their journey started later due to the issues mentioned, and when momentum picked up, they had to quickly adapt to a new way of communicating and working, outside of school where all of their previous meetings have taken place.
The group members are from; Malaysia, China, Russia and Hong Kong and so there’s an added use for technology to keep in touch and to ensure that the team continue to communicate. The group very much feel like their time with YE is ‘unfinished business,’ and when we found that we couldn’t be in school physically, they were really determined to ensure that the different competition elements were completed digitally.
Other challenges were to come to terms with production being halted after working so hard on finalising Easy Fold. Customers are being updated via social media and the team are answering any queries related to placed orders there. The final challenge is working remotely – not only are they rising to the challenge of learning remotely for their GCSE’s but also communicating via online platforms in order to remain positive about their business and what the future holds for it.