Anna Barker works at Our Lady’s RC Sport College in Manchester. Here she shares her experience of seeing the enterprise skills in action both in school and on a business trip to a world-famous firm.

Our Lady’s Students investing in a bright future at PwC

On Monday 18 July, I was lucky enough to join nine of our year 9 students at an ‘Enabling Enterprise’ Day at Price Waterhouse Cooper’s Manchester offices. Our Lady’s have an invaluable partnership with PwC; one of the ‘Big Four’ global financial institutions. As part of this incredible partnership, an Enterprise Challenge took place in school on Friday 8 July. Staff from Enabling Enterprise led a two- hour session where students formed groups to create political parties with their own manifestos. The Progress Party were the winning group in one class with their slogan; ‘Unity in the Community’ and a manifesto that included free university education. The day was such a success that I was excited to see what the session at PwC held in store for the students. It didn’t disappoint.

The day was led by Enabling Enterprise Regional Manager for the North West; Claire Bayley who ensured every pupil participated, starting with an ice-breaker exercise to get the students’ brains warmed up. They thought of words beginning with ‘P’ that related to hobbies, job titles, skills, finance and the business world. Working in teams of three, they came up with names and I was impressed at their imaginative approach to this task; an approach I’m pleased to say continued throughout the day. The three teams were Blackley’s Bank, I Know Money Well (an acronym made from their names) and Best Invest. Each team had a mentor from PwC to offer guidance and advice and it was a great opportunity for the students to find out what working life is like at PwC and ask what qualifications they would need to get a job with this global player.

Expert support on their enterprise challenge

Best Invest were working with Kelly Lowery, Senior Manager of Client and Market Development at PwC. They asked her “What’s your number one stress?” and she told them prioritising jobs and working to deadlines can be stressful, but explained there is a great support mechanism at PwC and she can take a flexible approach to her working hours as long as she is productive and hitting targets. This fits well around Kelly’s family life and our students seemed impressed that the working structure is so accommodating.

All the teams were asked to consider the risks and benefits involved in making decisions, exploring risk management and ways to minimise risk. Scenarios relating to personal experience helped to put major decisions made in the business world into context. For example, Claire asked them; “Would you lend your friend your PS4?” Students placed themselves on an imaginary line across the room based on their perceived risk of this activity. It was interesting to see the girls at one end – happy to lend their PS4 because they trusted their friend and felt confident they’d get it back – and the boys at the other, worrying their gaming reputation could be ruined or the PS4 damaged. One girl stood in the middle saying she would weigh up the risks before making a decision – proving this to be a useful and though-provoking exercise. We also discussed the risks associated with auditioning for ‘Britain’s Got Talent’. Some students thought they had nothing to lose, others were worried about the potential humiliation factor and as for me – no chance, but then I guess that’s an age thing (as much as a lack of talent!)

Calculated risk-taking

The teams then played ‘The Million Pound Drop’ prompting them to think about what’s at stake when money is involved in the decision-making progress. Best Invest ended the game with the most money left out of their initial £million. Next up was the financial exercise with teams asked to invest £200,000 life savings for the fictional Mr and Mrs Green. They had a choice of three investment options and had to weigh up the risks and potential returns of each. They also had to take into account Mr and Mrs Green’s personal values; caring passionately about their local community and wanting to protect the environment. Breaking for a much-appreciated buffet lunch gave the students the chance to chat informally about their investment ideas. After lunch came some breaking news – Mr and Mrs Green had landed a lottery win! There was another £50,000 to invest. I was working with Best Invest who split the money between the Blackfields Shopping Centres and Solar Panels, steering clear of Tritonate, the third investment option which was a substance thought to have health benefits but with reserves in short supply. The team felt Mr and Mrs Green would be concerned by the impact on the environment that could occur searching for more reserves.

The students then presented their results back to a judging panel comprised of myself, the three PwC volunteers and Mr Schofield, Partnership Development Manager at Our Lady’s. Blackey’s Bank presented confidently, followed by a presentation from I Know Money Well that included a rap (students of many talents!) and then Best Invest told the room how they’d managed to achieve their winning investment total of £1,462,000! In fact, it was a clean sweep for Best Invest who was also awarded the most points for their presentation. I may be slightly biased as I sat with their group, but I’d also say every single student pushed themselves out of their comfort zone, contributing great ideas and presenting confidently. When it comes to enterprise, I think we may just have identified the stars of the future!

Thank you PwC and Enabling Enterprise for another engaging and rewarding day.

If you’d like to find out more about Enabling Enterprise or get involved, just contact us.

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One Response to “Business Trip: a teacher’s view”

  • Challenge Day: Our Lady’s RC College and A Day in Politics « Enabling Enterprise Education July 19, 2017

    [...] Having worked with Enabling Enterprise since 2015, Our Lady’s RC Sports College enjoyed the success of the ‘A Day in Politics’ Challenge Day they offered their Year 9 students last year and embarked upon another year of Enterprise Education, with both a Challenge Day and an employer partner trip. The Year 9s will, yet again, enjoy ‘A Day in Politics’, bringing with them the enterprise skills they have exercised in their trip to PwC last week. [...]

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