The School: Becontree Primary School

Based in Barking & Dagenham, Becontree Primary School are in their third year of working with Enabling Enterprise. Last year, students developed their Enterprise Skills through lesson-time projects, business trips and a Challenge Day that stretched their Using Imagination and Working in a Team skills, as they designed new forms of transportation for the future!

Today’s trip was a fantastic opportunity for students from Year 5 to put their Problem Solving and Staying Positive skills to the test outside the classroom with the support from professional business volunteers.

The Business: First State Investments

First State Investments (FSI) is a global asset management business with experience across a range of asset classes and specialist investment sectors. They manage investments on behalf of institutional investors and pension funds, wholesale distributors and platforms, financial advisers and their clients. They employ teams of investors who are specialists in their respective fields and set their own investment style. They have offices in London, Edinburgh, Paris, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, Jakarta, New York, Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland, Beijing and Shenzhen.

Today, the students were very lucky to be joined by 4 volunteers from the FSI team: Emily, Anthony, Elise and Nicola, who brought a wealth of financial expertise and insight to help the teams with their tasks!

The Challenge: Lend-a-Hand

The day started off with the students interviewing the volunteers and Listening Carefully to find out about their different roles, responsibilities and the Essential Skills required to do their jobs, as they found out more about Risk, Compliance and Investment. Students then went on a tour of the offices, which allowed the teams to see the great variety of jobs available in the world of finance as well as the different departments, including trading in Established and Emerging Markets. The teams also visited the Reading Room, where staff can go for quiet reflection and research tasks, and got to experience the truly global nature of FSI for themselves, checking the time in different time zones around the world!

Taking on the role of Financial Advisors, students were introduced to the concept of budgeting and managing income and expenditure effectively to avoid going into debt. They were then given the task of advising a client to make sensible financial decisions for a range of different life events. Teams had to put their Problem Solving skills to work in order to consider the pros and cons of different suggestions and, taking the priorities and needs of the client on board, Shared Ideas and Worked in a Team to find the best possible course of action for their client.

The teams’ Staying Positive skills were tested when they realised that decisions they had made earlier on were having an impact on the advice they were giving their client later in the day! They supported each other to stay calm and think creatively but logically about their decisions, reflecting on the outcomes of previous decisions and Using their Imagination to devise new strategies.

The day culminated in teams holding a budgeting meeting with the client to share their top tips and financial advice. Volunteers watched the meeting and used their expertise to judge which team had used their Problem Solving and Working in a Team skills to make the most sensible decisions along the way.

What they said:

  • “The activities today covered a range of ideas relating to both the workplace as well as money, budgeting and finances as a whole. What I enjoyed most was the opportunity, from a corporate point of view, to have time to spend on something like this. We have skills to offer and I might not have realised I could be so helpful to this age group before today!” – Volunteer
  • “I enjoyed being the chairperson in our team meeting as it was fun to work on a problem and ask everyone to share their ideas to help us solve it.” – Student
  • “This was a great day as a volunteer, with plenty of great interaction with the children.” – Volunteer
  • “The children really enjoyed their tour of the building and the volunteers were really nice and helpful. They now have an insight into an office environment and an understanding of finance at a level and on subjects that they can relate to.” – Teacher
  • “When I go home tonight and talk about my day, or even my week, at work, this is the first thing I’ll want to talk about.” – Volunteer
  • “The best part of my day was learning new things. I’ve learnt that if you’re stuck with a problem, you can always ask those people around you for their ideas and it makes it easier to find a solution if we all work together on it.” – Student

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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