An Apprentice style challenge for teenagers at Birmingham International Airport is just one of the initiatives linking the business to communities.
The airport’s community affairs team have developed close relationships with schools and it is the second year the airport has worked with the school on the hands-on project.
The business challenge involved a dozen 14-16-year-old students from Yardley School in Tyseley, Birmingham.
The winner after the three-week challenge was Dheeran Vadgama who had survived boardroom firings to impress the judges with his final presentation about the airport.
Andy Holding, Birmingham Airport’s community affairs manager, said: “We are proud of our links with local schools and so it is fantastic that we have been able to invite the students back to the airport for this initiative. It’s always interesting to hear fresh and exciting ideas and it’s impressive to see how seriously the students take it, although I don’t think I’m quite as scary as Alan Sugar.”
The challenges included:
* creating a business plan for a new airline, to include a name, brand design, pricing structure and route network
* deciding on a new retailer to operate in one of the airport terminals, taking into consideration the airport environment and customer profile
* purchasing as many items as possible at the airport with just £50
* presenting to senior managers about the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed runway extension
Yardley School’s assistant head, Neil Warner, said, “The initiative was a great success last year so we are delighted that the airport is once again helping to give the students an insight into the business world. What better way than to give them the opportunity to take part in an Apprentice style initiative. I know the group really enjoyed being able to look around the airport and it helps to bring their studies to life when they are facing real scenarios.”
The airport’s work with schools has also enabled the team to give Year 10 students at Dame Elizabeth Cadbury Technology College a helping hand in their efforts to spread the word about ethical trading. Students from the school in Bournville are this year’s winners of the Birmingham International Airport Communication Award which was presented at the recent partnership awards ceremony, organised by Birmingham and Solihull Education Business Links.
The ceremony celebrates the value of links between education and the world of work and was attended by more than 100 representatives from schools and businesses across Birmingham and Solihull.
The Dame Elizabeth Cadbury students beat off stiff competition to win the award thanks to what the judges described as the “excellent” communication skills they demonstrated during a project with a local motor dealer.
Now, fellow students from the school will be using the prize money to establish a stall in school selling Fair Trade fruit, snacks and other items.
This builds on their work in Business Enterprise lessons in which they researched the issue surrounding the illegal trade in blood diamonds, developing posters, handouts and even a rap to raise awareness of the issue.
Dame Elizabeth Cadbury teacher, James McCormick, said: “We’re delighted to receive the airport’s support. By recognising the students’ efforts in this way, they are helping to build the students’ communication skills and their self-confidence, as well as enabling them to develop their interest in fair trade issues and ethical business practices.
“All of this will stand them in good stead when they enter the business world for themselves. It’s a real investment in the future.”
Andy Holding, said: “The airport is a great believer in the value of close ties between schools and businesses as one of the best ways of helping prepare students for the realities of life after school. It’s a measure of the students’ maturity that they chose to invest their prize money in further developing their understanding of ethical business practices.”