On 4 February our director, Nick took part in an Enterprise Day at Tomlinscote School called The Business of Fashion. He takes up the story…
“I volunteered at the last minute in response to an email request from CMPP the charity that we are Trustees of. With no meetings in the diary, which is unusual, I decided it was the right thing to offer to support the event. I would be needed to be a business ambassador and to float between two classrooms where groups of Year 9 students (13/14 years olds) were working in teams to win an investment in a new T-shirt fashion company they were forming.
Driving over to Tomlinscote, I’m happy to share that I was more than a little apprehensive about the day. Why, I wondered? I think, looking back there were two reasons:
- A fear of placing myself in an unfamiliar environment (a lion’s den) at the mercy of 300 adolescents!
- A fear of not having the answers to hand when questioned by this age group, when the only reason I was there was because I was old and experienced!
So this day was a ‘stretch’ for me and I was outside my comfort zone. But I wasn’t eaten by lions, I got home in one piece with my marketing credentials still in tact. Here are my thoughts about the Enterprise Day.
- The absolute vast majority of the children were engaging, polite, friendly and intelligent.
- At one extreme, a small number chose not to really get involved and at the other end, I experienced some ‘wow’ moments of brilliance that blew me away.
- The level of proficiency in the use of iPads and design software puts many people in the workplace to shame.
- The use of phones and tablets appears not to inhibit creativity.
- Being a teacher must be exhausting and controlling 30 children an art.
- The attention span of young people is short.
- Based on one day in one school, the future looks secure.
The stand out moment for me was the group that wanted to design a T-Shirt with Koalas on. The plan was to sell 1,000 T-shirts and make a contribution of the profit to the Koala Fund, post the recent Australian fires They were struggling for a name for their company. I asked them what Koalas ate, and they said eucalyptus leaves, which was right. I suggested that could be considered as a catchy company name and they seemed to like it.
Returning to the team a while later they told me they had worked on the company name and had tweaked it to ‘You-calyptus’. The brand and marketing would all be geared around saving the Koala being a personal call to arms. It’s you saving the bear! Absolute genius. They’d used an idea and taken it to a totally different level. To hear that this team was the overall winner from the 50 or so teams taking part was the icing on the cake.
My message to anyone who has the opportunity to take part in an Enterprise Day is grab it. You won’t be disappointed. Special thanks to Jane Sheridan who led the day and to CMPP for the opportunity to take part.