The Apprentice Challenge is aimed at year 10 students. The challenge takes place during the autumn term and targeted towards students who are thinking of applying to become Student Leaders. The challenge helps them to prepare for the demands of a Student Leadership role as they are required to demonstrate various leadership and employability skills such as team work, communication, creativity, initiative, problem solving, budgeting and time management.
Students work in houses to come up with a business idea, they then submit a business plan to secure start-up capital that is donated by FOBS (Friends of Brookfield School). They then trade their business and all profits raised are then donated back to FOBS. The house that generates the most profit wins the challenge. This year’s challenge started in November.
In spite of the cold, damp weather in recent days, teams of Year 10 students at Brookfield Community School in Sarisbury Green near Fareham have been busy outdoors. With a spirit of enterprise that Lord Sugar himself would admire, teams from the different colour houses set out to make as much money as possible from a £20 ‘grant’ provided by the Friends of Brookfield School.
Given just a few short planning sessions, in which each team had to produce a properly costed business plan, the students had just one week – in break times and after school – to sell their wares. These ranged from festive packages of sweets and warming, creamy hot chocolate to a full car wash and polish.
Hazel Robinson – who coordinates the student leadership programme at Brookfield - stated:
“The ‘Apprentices’ initiative is intended to develop an instinct for entrepreneurship, confidence and team working - three critical skills in today’s world. But it also identifies very clearly those students who have strong leadership potential, at the start of the process to select the next team of head boys, head girls and prefects.”
One eager car wash customer was Chair of Governors, Eloise Appleby. Her muddy white car was transformed in no time by a team from Purple House, which is dedicated to inspirational Olympian Bradley Wiggins. While the students washed the grime away, she was also able to buy and enjoy a mug of hot chocolate from a mobile drinks service being provided by other ‘Wigginsians’. Mrs Appleby commented:
“This is a great way to apply classroom learning from a range of subjects into a ‘real life’ setting. I am impressed that from a standing start just two weeks ago, these little businesses have sprung into life and been well supported by staff and students alike. I have been interested to see how effectively they have used social media to organise their teams and promote their products, especially when we hear so much bad news about young people and their phone ‘addictions’.”
The teams have been nothing if not competitive, aiming for business success in order to secure glory for their various houses. Results of the 2017 Apprentices’ Challenge will be declared at the end of term. The money raised goes back to the Friends of Brookfield School, which raises money all year round to help fund additional equipment, opportunities and reward schemes for all students. This week, the Year 10s can stay in the warm and dry to enjoy the seasonal round of Christmas celebrations before heading home for the holidays.