For the third year running, Aldermore is taking part in the acclaimed learning programme SKILL!, which aims to encourage young people to develop vital business skills for working life. Regional Sales Manager Gemma Baston is one of the appointed mentors for the programme and, over the coming weeks, will be working with a group of secondary school pupils to bring their unique business ideas to life.
Having spent her first week with her enterprise group at Harrop Fold School in Manchester, Gemma makes a few interesting observations about how the course helps students to develop valuable skills.
Speaking about her experience with the programme, she said:
“The students are learning a lot of important life skills through participating in the programmes including listening to others ideas and being able to consider others’ ideas and how they can work together. Learning how to present effectively to an audience is a skill that will help throughout their education and into adult life.”
Under the programme, students are required to develop their business ideas over the course of two months, with mentors visiting periodically to provide guidance. Based on product development, session one provided an opportunity for Gemma to offer the students key guidance where the students demonstrated lack of understanding – in this case, of the costs surrounding product production. She highlighted:
“The least understood element was the costs associated with product development so this is where I feel I have been able to add most value at this point, taking the students through simple costings and asking them to think of all the costs they would have in producing just one article.
“From this they were then able to scale this up and come up with some meaningful figures which they understood and will therefore be able to talk about the product if asked any questions.”
And it’s not just the students that are challenged within the programme; Gemma stressed the positive impact that the programme was having on her own work, though the development of her listening skills, saying:
“I always think of myself as a good listener but I think having to reinforce to the students that they need to speak to each other and be quiet when others are speaking is something that I can also apply to myself. Trying to listening to two or three students speaking is an achievement in itself!”
Supported by the Aldermore mentors, the participating teams will go on to compete in the national enterprise final at Global Entrepreneurship Week from 16 – 22 November 2015. Follow our progress through our resource centre, Twitter and LinkedIn in the run up to the final.
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