Thursday 08 November 2012

Enterprise final: 'Our whole school is buzzing'

In the first of our Enterprise Challenge final Q&As, we hear from Aylsham High School in Norwich

The Aylsham High School team (L-R): Jack Cleaver, Hazel Needham, Shaun Taylor, Alex Ridgway & Charlotte Foster

Entrepreneurial youngsters from across the country will do battle on Tuesday 13 November in the final of this year's Premier League Enterprise Challenge at the Westminster Conference Centre.

Six schools, representing Norwich City, Middlesbrough, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, West Bromwich Albion and Liverpool, will try to impress the judges and assembled dignitaries with their business ideas and solutions for improving customer service for fans on matchdays.

The Year 9-11 youngsters will have to present a business plan as well as their pitch to a panel of judges, with one team being crowned 2012 Enterprise Challenge winners.

Ahead of the contest next Tuesday, premierleague.com asked the competitors their thoughts about the Challenge and how it has helped them as students.

Aylsham High School - Norwich City

Teacher: Emmalucy Auber (Head of Business and Enterprise)
Students: Hazel Needham, Charlotte Foster, Jack Cleaver, Shaun Taylor and Alex Ridgway.

How did you get involved?

Emmalucy Auber: The school works closely with Norwich City Football Club on a number of projects throughout the year, not just on the Business Studies curriculum but also through our induction programme for students starting at the school. We have a fantastic relationship with the club and they are a great business to work with.

How did you get the idea for your pitch?

Jack Cleaver: We arranged our first after-school meeting to brainstorm ideas not long after we found out about the Challenge and as we sat and shared our thoughts someone popped up with the idea of virtual mapping via a smartphone app and from then the ideas escalated and we had an idea set in stone: The Yellows App.

What is it like to have made the final?

Shaun Taylor: It is a real honour to be representing our school and Norwich City. Being in the final is an experience not many people get. The team is extremely excited to make this experience the best it can be.

Emmalucy Auber: Brilliant! The students have worked so hard to get to this point, learning some very complex business theory as well as working on their self-confidence during their pitch. The hard work and dedication they have given to this challenge is outstanding. It's a true example of the how the Premier League can have a positive impact upon the lives and education of young people.

How much are you looking forward to it?

Hazel Needham: Not just our team, but our whole school, is absolutely buzzing. Norwich City is also backing us 100%, so we really want to do them proud. All our hard work and efforts have paid off but we now have to work doubly hard to perfect our pitch for the final. We are all so excited and also can't wait to see the other teams and their ideas as well. It's going to be amazing!

How has the school helped you with this project?

Alex Ridgway: They have given us guidance, feedback and a lot of support - without it we would not have got this far. They have supported all our ideas and boosted our confidence.

How has the club helped you?

Jack Cleaver: For a start Norwich City have helped tremendously by giving an excellent representative in Stevie Bramble, who has arranged for us to meet very important people at the club and have given us all the time and information we needed as well as treating us like adults throughout. It was a huge honour for [Norwich City chief executive] David McNally to give up his time and speak to us and also invite us as guests at Carrow Road three times.

What do you feel this competition has done for the members of your team/your school/personally?

Shaun Taylor: It has done many things, to both the football teams being represented and the schools who are taking part. The relationship between the school and the football club has been excellent. Within the school, this challenge has brought different year groups together to become one team. This challenge has given me a lot more knowledge of business. It has put it into perspective by having the challenge based around a real-life situation.

Jack Cleaver: The competition has been a massive confidence booster for me and has made me think a lot about the importance of teamwork and hard work. For the school it is just another great achievement to be proud of.

Hazel Needham: It has pushed every member of our team and we could not have done it without everybody's ideas, determination and hard work. Our school has recognised our achievements and are immensely proud and we hope we have shown other students that teamwork and dedication can have an effect on what you do. Presenting our pitch in the semi-finals was a great experience for helping develop my confidence and communication.

Generally, our whole team has come to a better understanding of enterprising skills and we have all helped each other develop in our own areas of weakness.

Alex Ridgway: It has helped my confidence, self-expression and has improved my communication. All of these are especially important as I am about to leave school and are essential for my future interviews for colleges and apprenticeships. It has given the team a big boost getting through to the final and we cannot wait to compete.

What elements of business studies have you learnt?

Jack Cleaver: I have learnt a lot about technical terms in business and how organisations such as Norwich City work. The main thing is how to turn ideas into a business plan and structured proposals to make money and in this case to make paying customers receive a full and enjoyable experience in football.

Alex Ridgeway: What I have learnt is going to help me with my GCSE Business Studies and for future life, especially if I want to run my own business. My financial knowledge has advanced dramatically due to writing up financial forecasts and profit and loss accounts. 

What advice would you give other students/teachers thinking of taking part in the challenge?

Shaun Taylor: The main piece of advice I would give is to go for it. Look clearly at the specification and brief of the challenge and with everything you do, include all of the aspects of the brief. This would ensure that judges can see you have the knowledge that is needed and so your idea will be seen highly. Finally ensure you understand your idea and keep it simple.

Jack Cleaver: I would say dive right into it, the whole experience is amazing and helps no end with confidence, teamwork and hard work. You may not win the competition but you will receive skills and advice from the amazingly helpful people who work in your local football club and the Premier League.

Hazel Needham: Go for it! This challenge has been an amazing experience for everybody involved and is a unique opportunity that should not be missed. Work hard to produce a brilliant presentation because the Challenge is competitive and there are so many good ideas from the other teams. The project has been a learning curve for all of us and we will definitely carry forward all the really important things we have learnt from being able to compete.

Emmalucy Auber: Be prepared for this challenge to take over your life! Students, staff and the local community are just some of the people who want to know more and continually ask about the challenge. It has united all the wider school community. I would also advise teachers to let the students take control of the challenge. There are always times when teachers want to step in and offer advice but the key is to take the lead from the students. They are some of the most creative people you will ever work with and they have some of the most original ideas.

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Key Points

  • 2012 Premier League Enterprise Challenge Final takes place next week
  • Six schools from across the country are taking part
  • We have asked the students what they think of the competition