Engineering the Future?
After six weeks of working through different aspects of running an engineering company, the students from Ingleby Manor Free School finally completed their final presentations. Drawing on aspects of what they had learned over the previous weeks, they delivered their business plans to a prestigious invited panel of judges. Not that presenting to successful business people put them off one bit. The panel, made up of Andy Preston, Anne Stonehouse, Rebecca Hodgson and Erika Marshall had given up their time to support such an innovative approach to teaching students about the aspects of business that our current education system doesn’t really cater for yet ironically will give them the best chance of developing a successful career once they leave school. Over the weeks they worked with engineers, book keepers, marketeers and a range of people from different companies, all eager to help promote employability skills and knowledge of potential careers to our future workforce. Julie developed the course for schools based on many years providing INSET in schools for students. She wanted to take her programme of running a business in a day to a new level by using Inspire2Learn as a business centre. By coming out of the school setting the students were faced with a more authentic learning environment, more akin to a real workplace. This allowed Julie to work with the students, or ‘staff’ as she referred to them throughout, in a manner that was more like how they will experience a business environment, rather than a school. They even sat and ate lunch alongside people from ‘the real world’ as part of the process, giving them that experience of having to make conversation in such a situation.
The judges were impressed with the range of skills that the students showed, focussing on the strengths of their potential business propositions. All were fantastic but one presentation really stood out and local businessman Brian Waugh has offered to help the students take their idea a step further by producing actual resin prototypes of their product packaging.
Projects and events of this type fit really well with the ongoing focus of many of our I2L activities based around promoting employability skills, attitudes and experiences for our students. Julie is hoping to extend the project with the school across the year with a new group of students each time. She is also keen to develop a similar project with several schools sending pupils to the same project, developing those collaborative skills in situations where they don’t necessarily know the person they are working with very well. Please let us know if you are a school who is interested or a business who would like your staff to engage with our workforce of tomorrow.