Young consultants bring The Apprentice business challenge to East London academy

Last month saw fourteen volunteers from the Young MCA bring their business acumen to the year eight classrooms of Mossbourne Community Academy in East London. The team of consultants – from more than nine different firms – together with Young Enterprise, provided a motivating day of skills and advice and engaged the students with first-hand insights into business.

With the aim of the day to teach the young people about what it means to be enterprising; healthy competition and hands-on involvement were the name of the game. After an initial introduction to our backgrounds and career history, the day kicked off with a quick-fire observation quiz to get the young minds thinking and applying logic and rationale to a memory task.

Then, it was down to business – splitting the students into large teams, each group was challenged with the task of imagining their own retail business; creating an idea for the UK high street and thinking the logistics through, from shop-floor plans to logos. We were on hand with the Young Enterprise team to provide a basic ‘crash course’ in business marketing for the students, with the creative mind-set of the teams providing some rather amusing brand-names and brand statements: “Wheel need your spare parts…” from a car parts business for example.

At the half-way point in the day, the groups were challenged to bring their business idea to life. With the assistance of Young Enterprise templates, we guided the students through the steps to writing their retail brand’s business plan: what product they were looking to sell, how they would promote it, what their brand materials would look like, and how they would present their website’s homepage. The teams designed mood-boards to present their final business plan to ourselves and Young Enterprise, and were rewarded with a number of accolades to mark the best team for innovation, marketing, teamwork and presenting as well as an overall winner.

The day was brought to a close with a question and answer session for the consultants and we were thoroughly impressed with the levels of engagement from the students. The groups spoke of how much they had taken away from the day. It was a similar feeling on our side. We were taught to adapt our presentation style for this young audience with clear, concise communication of advice and ideas, and careful time management to ensure the young minds were kept engaged throughout. The day was a chance to show the students that they can be career focused from a young age, and for ourselves, a chance to come together from a wide network of consultancies to work on such a rewarding project, sharing insight and new ideas.

Written by Alex Harvey, Atos Consulting, and Tom Ellis, Atkins, for the Young MCA Update