Understanding how the BA and CL roles work together

Your role as a Business Adviser requires you to adopt a more consultative, facilitative approach and avoid telling the students what to do.

Many BAs find this a useful extension of their business skillset.

Education professionals are used to being in control of a group of students but should encourage the students to engage with you on business issues and questions. They should also promote discussion and the weighing-up of options in order that the team can make balanced decisions.

It is not essential that the Centre Lead (CL) is present for all of the student company meetings. However, we recommend that the CL is involved in your team’s first few meetings, to help with the early discussions and to strengthen the students’ relationship with you. From the outset, the students should see you as the primary facilitator of their Programme experience.

Many CLs enjoy an extensive involvement with the student company but there are times when other commitments must take priority, in this situation the CL should make themselves available for consultation or issue resolution at the very least.

There are a series of expectations which you and the CL should have when you are working together:

  • That you endeavour to turn up regularly to meetings, or communicate in advance if you will not be able to attend. If a recurring commitment means that you are no longer able to support the team adequately then this should be discussed with the CL
  • CLs try to accommodate the needs of the BA in making meeting arrangements and being flexible in this regard. Most companies meet at the same time each week and this needs to match the availability of the BA
  • The CL should help to set meetings standards during the first few sessions and address any poor behaviours by the students. They should not expect you to do this.
  • Both should feel able to raise issues with the other about their working relationship or contributions and how things might be improved

The table below sets out the distinct responsibilities of the BA and CL

Role/Responsibility

Centre Lead

Business Adviser

Returning the SLA to YE, recruiting and signing students up and registering the student company onto the Programme
Ensuring students have access to school resources, e.g. room for meetings with access to digital projection. Promoting the Centre’s participation in the Programme with staff colleagues and Senior Team
Welcoming the BA at reception and being available as the ongoing point of contact for BA, as required. Ensuring that the BA is made aware of centre-specific safeguarding policies and procedures
Regularly attending weekly board meetings
Ensuring that the teams operate within necessary legal parameters, the Programme rules and sound practices
Ensuring that the team understand and follow sensible financial management practices and maintain an appropriate level of financial control
Facilitating the experiential learning opportunity
Observing the team in action and helping all team members to make an appropriate contribution
Helping the team to establish appropriate communication mechanisms, (which can include the CL and BA in a suitable, safe fashion)
Encouraging the students, fostering their enthusiasm and focus, and helping them recover from setbacks as necessary
Sharing lessons and experiences to enhance the realism of the Programme experience and reinforce learning
Securing permissions in line with school policy for students to attend events e.g. local Trade Fairs and the competition events
Helping the teams make the necessary preparations for key events such as local Trade Fairs, other sales events and the competition

As well as forming an effective relationship with your CL, you can both enhance the Programme experience by working closely with the student company’s MD:

  • the CL by sharing some of the administration tasks, for example: liaising with the local YE team regarding events, acting as a figurehead for the Programme within the centre and
  • you by helping them develop the necessary leadership and management skills, for example: running effective meetings and encouraging their peers to make decisions and complete the actions assigned to them

New combinations of CL and BA may take some time to develop a productive working relationship and make this work in front of the students. Being up-front about the challenges and sharing expectations can help significantly to make the relationship work.

You should be aware that CLs also volunteer a great deal of their personal time to support the students, and often take on the CL role in addition to their already busy work schedules. Please recognise and appreciate this as you work in collaboration with the CL.