If anyone had told Harris, a Year 8 student from President Kennedy School in Coventry that a trip to Bromford would result in him exclaiming, ‘I’ve learned lots today – about life!’ he might not have believed it – but’s that’s the exact statement he made during the reflection session following his Enabling Enterprise business trip experience recently.

The Challenge

He and his fellow students, accompanied by their teacher, Helen Petrak travelled to Bromford Exchange Court, Wolverhampton. They quickly set about finding out more about Bromford and soon discovered that it was a leading provider of affordable housing in the UK. With a warm welcome from Bromford’s volunteers the students set about gathering as much information as they possibly could to assist them with their challenge – to form their own exciting event planning company and organise a celebration for Bromford employees.

Touring the offices

With team names decided and points already on the scoreboard for demonstrating Enabling Enterprise’s Challenge Skills, ‘Einstein Events’ and ‘Bromplan’ set off on a tour of the offices. Taking in the different ‘zones’, the students relished the opportunity to hear about a drone used in property maintenance, to try out google glasses and were amazed at the innovation zones around the building. Taking a seat on the ‘thinking bus’ and visiting the other creative areas, including whiteboard walls, tables and the stylish staff lounge certainly opened the students eyes.

‘Working here certainly wouldn’t be boring!’ exclaimed one student when seeing the replica lounge area of one of Bromford’s homes, which pleased volunteer Alex who explained she wished to break down stereo types and let the students see a working environment could be fun and enjoyed.

Budgeting for their events

Buzzing with excitement and information gathered on the tour, the students approached the next phase of the day at pace. Keen to make decisions regarding the proposed budget and spending, Einstein Events carefully considered all options, listening carefully as each team member shared their ideas. Volunteer Steve commented, ‘The students were so willing to hear each other’s ideas and accept alternative solutions to the problems they faced. We can learn from them – a good decision can be made quickly!’

The shocking news that the budget was to be slashed didn’t deter the teams. After initial disappointment that their budget plan would need to revised, Bromplan resiliently exclaimed, ‘Come on, we can do this!’ and surprised themselves that the deadline was met. Volunteer David reflected afterwards, ‘The fast pace, actioned packed format of the day really mimicked real life – especially when the budget was cut. I liked the way the students realised they had to respond quickly and how they came to their speedy decisions, keeping everyone on board.’


Top tips for presenting

As the final challenge of the day approached, the students took every opportunity to gain top tips from the volunteers about how to present their ideas to the judges, including Clare who shared her knowledge from working in Learning and Development at Bromford. Being reassured that many people find public speaking nerve racking certainly calmed their nerves and the encouragement to smile and seek eye contact was evident when it came to well planned, prepared and increasingly confident presentations.

Taking to the stage

Einstein Events were up first with a slick pitch to promote their ‘Bromfest’ musical festival style inspired event. The use of rhetorical questions to engage the judges and their emphasis on social media sharing appealed to the tech savvy judges. Wisdom, show casing his dance moves, certainly made an impression to round off, before Bromplan took their turn. Their personalised awards event for Bromford really showed how much they had learnt through active listening, making observations and asking well thought out questions to gather more information about the business during the day. Their Beach Party theme was conveyed with great enthusiasm, positive persuasive language and visual aids added to the fun – leaving the judges in a quandary.


The final decision

So as the judges deliberated and the teams reflected on a nonstop day, along with their ‘working lunch’ it was encouraging to hear the students discussing their aspirations to work for organisations like Bromford and be engaged in challenging and interesting tasks. Nicola summed up, ‘We’ve done really well. It has been hard work – but we worked well together in our team to be creative – I like our event idea a lot. It would be good to work somewhere like this.’ While Rebecca, admitted being initially reluctant about the trip was glad she had attended, as was Daniel – whose smile when his team. Einstein Events, were announced as the winners spoke volumes and he commented, ‘I’d definitely be up for doing something like this again’.

A few reflections on the day

First time Enabling Enterprise volunteer Sam said, ‘It has been so rewarding to see the quieter students grow in confidence. It was lovely to hear them encouraging each other and see how they realised they could learn from any mistakes they had made. It’s been really good fun.’

Teacher Mrs Petrak summed up, ‘It’s been a most worthwhile experience. The students have all been engaged throughout and on task. The activities have catered for all abilities. They have been challenged to solve problems in a real life context, to be creative, to present their ideas, to work together – which they have done incredibly well. The skills learned can be transferred to their school career and beyond to raise aspirations. It’s been fun and dynamic. A super day!’

Bromford are supporting students build enterprise skills and aspirations. If you’d like to get involved, contact us.

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