As previously reported in these news pages we have two teams of students taking part in Birmingham’s Community-Apprentice this year. This inter-school competition is a bit like The Apprentice on television. Young people have to develop, and crucially demonstrate, skills and personal qualities whilst managing their own projects. In this case, however, young people compete to benefit the community, rather than make the most profit.
Our teams have worked really hard since September researching problems, identifying an issue, planning what to do about it and overcoming a range of problems to make it happen. Now they have been reflecting on what they have achieved and the impact the experience has had on themselves and others.
Taking action to benefit others
Team Binvaders set out to encourage their peers to be more conscious about the way they handle their litter and the effects this has on the environment. They created a team mascot called ‘Binjamin’ and used him as a humorous means of getting their peers to think about litter pollution. They conducted litter picks as a team and utilised their creative skills to spray paint their slogan ‘If you’re binning your winning’ on College bins.
Team Lost and Found tackled youth homelessness through their project. They ran cake sales around the College and used the money raised to create 35 hygiene packs. They met a local homelessness charity and joined them on the street to hand out the packs they created.
Evidencing employability skills
Students had to present their projects to a panel of judges. As well as evidencing how they have helped other people, they were also required to clearly articulate their own development during the programme drawing on specific examples.
As well as helping them in the competition, this reflection will provide them with examples for interviews for further education or jobs. Employers are we increasingly interested in transferable skills, like team working and problem solving, and we want to help our students to know how to evidence examples which demonstrate this.
Employees from Public Health England have been mentoring students throughout the project. Jenny Riley said ‘If the Cadbury students can perform in a real interview situation like they did with us during mentoring sessions, I’ve no hesitation they could secure whatever they want to do in the future. I’ve interviewed people with years of experience and qualifications coming out of their ears that didn’t come across as well as they did. Well done.’
Whatever the results in the competition, it is clear that our students have really enjoyed this experience, made a difference for others and gained a lot from it themselve