The School:

Located in Reading, Leighton Park is in their first year of working with Enabling Enterprise. The school has a vibrant learning community, where students have time and space to live, learn and grow. Today’s trip was a fantastic opportunity for these students from Year 8 to put their Being Creative and Presenting skills to the test with the support from professional volunteers.

The Business:

The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) is part of the Civil Service. The agency now manages over £3 billion each year to support a thriving farming and food sector in the UK. The Rural Payments Agency make payments to farmers, traders and land owners. They also manage over 40 schemes to help ensure we have a healthy rural economy and strong rural communities.

Today, our teams were joined by Sarah, Chrissy, Jen, Manjit and Mary, who each work in various sectors at the Agency and other organisations within the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). They were also given a very warm welcome to the RPA by Sandy, who gave a great insight into the work undertaken by the Agency and put some of the vast figures into context through some creative story-telling and analogies!

The Challenge: Marketing Moguls

The day started off with the students interviewing the volunteers to find out about their different roles, responsibilities and the Enterprise Skills required to do their jobs. Students took on the role of a marketing team at a new and exciting company that stocks and sells chairs.

Teams first undertook crucial market research of their volunteers’ needs and working styles to find out what features and benefits the employees wanted. Students then went on a tour of the premises, which allowed the teams to see the great variety of jobs within the Agency, and got to see first-hand how GIS and mapping is used effectively to map areas of land and oversee land usage. It also gave them a great opportunity to see the styles of chair already in place and to consider the space employees have to work in.

Teams then began using their imagination and Being Creative to design a brand new chair. It was really important that students were Presenting their ideas to each other so that they could come up with the most creative and innovative designs, which they most certainly did! Teams were also then tasked with deciding on the most effective advertising strategy to promote their new product, using their Problem Solving skills to identify the most suitable media outlets for their marketing.

The day culminated in teams pitching their design and marketing ideas in the hope that they could persuade the adults in the room that their chair was the one to buy. Our panel of judges, who had now also been joined by Matty from DEFRA, were bowled over by the imaginative ideas on show and the levels of confidence shown to deliver such polished presentations under time constraints.

What they said:

  • “These experiences are so important for the students to prepare them for the working world. It shows them that, alongside the academic qualities, you need these essential skills. We never had this at school but every school should be doing this!” – Volunteer, Rural Payments Agency
  • “I’ve really enjoyed thinking more about the strategies and approaches to marketing as a whole, rather than just thinking about the finer details. I’ve learnt more about effective marketing to a target market.” – Student, Leighton Park
  • “The volunteers have been great at coaching the teams and letting the students lead. The students will have learnt a lot from today, in particular a greater awareness of teamwork and leadership skills, including role allocation. It’s also given them an understanding of different roles within an organisation and the diversity of tasks and employees.” – Teacher, Leighton Park
  • “It was lots of fun! The day was so positive and we can actually learn a lot from the way the students were able to make quick decisions with minimal fuss and effective team meetings.” – Volunteer, Rural Payments Agency

Thanks to everyone for such a great trip day!

Enabling Enterprise are working in partnership with schools and businesses to support students to build enterprise skills and aspirations. Find out more by contacting us or visiting

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About Enabling Enterprise: … Our Mission Enabling Enterprise is an award-winning not-for-profit social enterprise, set up...



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