Steve Gregory from Ipswich based outsource 24/7 contact centre Ansaback spent a day as a business mentor with students from St. Benedict’s school in Bury St. Edmunds as part of the East Anglian ‘Enterprise Project’.
The project now in its second year was conceived by Rob Whitwood at Inspired Change to engage schools and business through challenge days where year 9 & 10 students take part in a business challenge. The project chose tourism as the focus for the events across the region because of the creativity required and the clear lack of focus of this sector in schools. Students from 10 high schools in East Anglia are participating: that’s 1400 young people whose perceptions can be impacted positively upon. While the tasks are focused towards tourism, that aim is to show the students the breadth and diversity of career opportunities within East Anglia and associated employers, in a way that engages and excites young people, their parents and their teachers.
The Enterprise Challenge gives young people:
- An experience that engages, educates and sparks an interest in local businesses
- The opportunity to learn new skills through practical experience
- The chance to meet and work with people who work with business people who are prepared to share their knowledge and experience
The Scenario: St. Benedict’s
The students had to create a new business in the tourism and hospitality sector. It could be anything from a theme park to a hotel complex; it was completely up to the team what they decide on. The ideas need to be very creative and not necessarily realistic today but as many of the students will point out, may be realistic in the future! These are the tasks the students had to complete in their teams of 5.
- Create a team name and job titles
- Discuss current tourism and hospitality businesses to find a gap in the market
- Decide on their business idea
- Create marketing materials for the business such as business cards, flyers and posters
- Complete sales and costing questions
- Create a presentation of their business idea
- Deliver the presentation in classrooms to a panel of judges.
- The winning teams from each classroom will then compete against each other for an overall winner.
Just like in real business, this was a competition, with the best concept from St. Benedict’s going forward to a regional final in NorwichThe day was a great success with over 100 students fully engaged and creating some extraordinary concepts and business plans. The winning team was a theme park based on everything great about East Anglia but delivered by a Tardis like environment that could move anywhere in the world. Steve Gregory commented “the students were amazing, the creativity and lack of fear in pushing their ideas into a business plan was inspiring for me, so we all got something out the day”.
Ansaback call centre will continue to support the project at other schools and hopefully in some small way inspire students to look at our industry in the future for their career.