June 25th, 2009
Peering at maps and compasses and picking their way across mountains in low cloud, 23 Sixth formers spent the weekend negotiating their way towards their Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award. The first day in Snowdonia was spent revising navigation skills, taking compass bearings to find small land features, before using those skills on a guided hike across the mountains. This walk was over rough terrain and included some mountain scrambling, but the groups members helped each other over the tricky sections and navigated successfully despite the 20 metre visibility in low cloud. Having completed those exercises, each group set off on a two day practice expedition involving some steep ascents. Again navigation was made difficult on the mountain tops because of low cloud, but every group successfully passed through the checkpoint at the top. They were rewarded by fine weather on the last day for the final low level part of their route. This time the sun shone and visibility was closer to 50 miles, making route finding much easier. Members of the groups will do their final expeditions in the Pyreness or the Picos Mountains during the summer.
June 16th, 2009
Branson and beads were the inspirations for the Third Form’s introduction to business on Business Enterprise Day. The activities encouraged the boys to be more aware of how businesses function, and got the students actively involved in the running of an enterprise.
The day began with a presentation, listing some good examples of successful businessmen and women, including Richard Branson, as well as more surprising examples, such as a ten year-old boy who made large profits simply from selling party napkins.
A game focused on investment in companies, with each team given £5000 to invest in different companies. The main focus in this exercise was to assess changes in market conditions, and thus invest wisely.
The primary focus of the day was a game which involved the teams of 5 or 6 running their own businesses. Each team made bracelets out of beads, and sold them to a ‘jewellery shop’, before distributing the profits appropriately, and using the earnings to buy more beads. The ultimate aim of this exercise was to contribute to the economy to the greatest extent. After a few minutes, everyone was frantically trying to make bracelets in the fastest method possible, while also assessing which were the most cost-effective combinations of beads with which to make the bracelets.
In the afternoon, the focus of the day changed to public relations. The boys were challenged to respond to problems within their business, and were later interviewed on what they believed was the cause of the problem, and what would be done to prevent it from recurring. The main lesson they took away from this was always to put the customer’s interests first.
Finally the young businessmen made job advertisements for their businesses, and produced a statement in response to environmental issues caused, looking to solutions to those problems.
Throughout the day, the team from Young Enterprise encouraged the students to become involved in business. They learned about what was involved in the running and maintenance of a business, and how to react to public criticism. The boys also became aware of how businesses have impacted on our society in the form of advertising, through company logos, theme tunes and straplines. The most valuable aspect from this reporter’s perspective was the experience gained from the day, interacting with real businessmen, but also becoming aware of the major problems with businesses, such as the too hasty development of an idea, and thus its ultimate failure.
Report by James Sinclair