The School:

A long-standing partner of Enabling Enterprise, of Gilbertstone Primary School in Birmingham is in its fourth year working with us to develop a set of eight Essential Skills in their students. Over the years, students from all year groups have had the opportunity to develop these skills through Lesson-Time Projects in their classrooms and through several Challenge Days, when for example they designed an array of futuristic transport prototypes, or when, more recently, they investigated a mysterious crime scene on their own school premises. Today’s trip was a fantastic opportunity for a selection of students from Year 3 to Year 6 to stretch their essential skills outside the classroom, particularly honing in on Listening Carefully, Sharing Ideas and Problem Solving today as they were supported by professional business volunteers.

The Business:

Selfridges Birmingham is one of the city’s most distinctive landmarks and the in-store experience is equally show-stopping, with the hottest new designers and most-wanted brands. Today at the Bullring branch, volunteers Brogan, Charley, Jade, Jo, Katie and Matt were on hand to support the budding entrepreneurs as they took on a stretching challenge.

The Challenge: Retail Revelations

The day started off with the students interviewing the volunteers to find out about their different roles, responsibilities and the Essential Skills required to do their jobs. Students then went on a tour of the premises, which allowed the teams to see the great variety of jobs available in the world of retail. Particular highlights were all the technology included on the shop floor, as well as a ‘magic’ ice cream station which involved liquid nitrogen!
Taking on the role of designers, students were challenged to apply their Using Imagination skills to design a brand new customer attraction on behalf of Selfridges in order to drive even more customers to their stores. The mixed-age teams had to factor in several features into their design, including cultural aspects and interactive tech for Selfridges food area, which is about to be redesigned.

The Gilbertstone students worked against the clock to create a range of colourful and imaginative floor plans, which would later help in their presentations. The day culminated in all five creative teams showing off their work in front of several Selfridges adults in a buzzing trade fair. The judges had a tough time deciding which team had used their essential skills to the highest standard, but one thing was certain: the adults were spoilt for choice if they wanted to magpie a few ideas from those creative young teams!

What they said:

  • “Great organisation – the mixed age groups worked well and the activities were age appropriate. The tour was a great opportunity, especially for those children who have never been to Selfridges: it opened their eyes to the world of retail. The adult support from Selfridges has been fantastic and the way staff moved around the teams has really helped the children.” – Teacher
  • “It’s very interactive – the activities are great fun, very engaging!” – Volunteer
  • “Best day at work ever! I’m having such a lovely time!” – Volunteer
  • “They were so polite with each other… I’ve never seen kids work so well together like that!” – Volunteer
  • “And they were very inquisitive, too – their understanding was very advanced.” – Volunteer
  • “I couldn’t believe how confident they were!” – Volunteer
  • “Their presenting skills are better than mine!” – Volunteer
  • “Those skills that you teach are so important for the future – it’s all great to have your Maths and English and Science… but if you haven’t got the other skills, then you’re at a disadvantage.” – Volunteer
  • “We want customer to have the best experience (…) We will have VR headsets dangling from the roof: this will make it more fun for the children (…)” – Student
  • “It was all hard but also very enjoyable.” – Student
  • “The thing I’ll remember the most after today is ‘Don’t ever think that your idea is too big!’” – 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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