Clapton Girls take on local issues with the help of Business Mentors

Earlier this term, a group of 14 Year 12 students from Clapton Girls’ Academy were introduced to their Business Mentors for the first time. The students, who are taking part in Envision’s Community-Apprentice competition, had their first session with mentors from the privately owned and managed financial services firm Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH).

As Business Mentors, BBH staff provide additional support and guidance for the students during the ten-month programme. The competition is loosely based on the TV series The Apprentice. Like the show, students will be demonstrating and developing their personal skills whilst working in teams to create and implement social action projects in their local community.  However, unlike the TV series, this competition is not about who can make the most amount of money, but which team can make the biggest contribution to their community.

Impacting the local community

The Community-Apprentice competition aims to develop three key skills; communication, creativity and team work, which are skills employers have identified as essential when employing young people. Furthermore, the programme has recently been recognised by the Department of Education as an effective way of implementing employer engagement amongst young people. All the while, students are given the opportunity to make a real difference to their local community.

So far, teams have chosen two issues which are most important to them. Team Social Power has chosen to tackle body image, with a focus on challenging the negative role social media can have on young people’s body image. Team Cruelty and Violence (CAV) are exploring issues around vulnerability in Hackney.

Andrew Hannigan, one of the mentors from BBH said that the session was “positive, engaging and thought-provoking and it was great to hear all the different perspectives that the students had concerning important issues in their local community.”

Developing employability skills

In the first mentoring session, students and mentors discussed the importance of creativity and the mentors gave advice to the students on how to be creative in their projects.

During the Community-Apprentice competition students must complete three programme Challenges. Students completed the Film Challenge before half term. The aim of this challenge is for students to develop team-working and communication skills by challenging teams to create a film of no more than two minutes which outlines why their issue matters in just one take! Both teams rose to the challenge and here are our two teams’ entries:

Team Social Power:

Team Cruelty and Violence:

Both the students and mentors are looking forward to the next Business Mentoring session at BBH, where the two teams will be getting tips to help their communication skills. This is so they are ready for the second part of the competition, the Pitching Challenge, where they will have to pitch their idea of how they aim to best make a positive impact in their community in the hope of receiving up to £100 of seed funding for their social action projects.