Last week I got the exciting opportunity to participate in the Fenland Cluster Business Challenge event. This event set six groups of about 60 year nine students the task of having to choose one of four locations to rent a building to turn into a rent-a-car business. However this was definitely not as easy as it seems. Our team skills were tested and for some people, their leadership skills. At the start of the day, after the briefing of what we had to do, we had to choose our roles on the board of directors, including HR director, PR manager, finance director and sustainability manager.
Once we each got a job role to do, we were given a sheet with a list of top professional employees from the companies who were involved in the day, including Anglian Water, AB Agri and MMUK. We were allocated four meetings and had to decide who we wished to see. We had to keep an eye on the time so we didn’t miss a meeting and we also got the opportunity to ask the professionals more about our roles and the pros and cons of the four locations.
When choosing our location out of Chatteris, Whittlesey, March or Wisbech, we had to take into account many factors and statistics such as population, plot space, access (main road or back road), how close it was to other main town/cities, competition, rent prices and profit, so the the Finance Manager needed to take all the details into account when calculating the profit their company would make.
There was also news throughout the day which would mean that we might have to give a statement to the press or that we might have to prepare a presentation or that we have to get permission to get solar panels. Solar panels would also significantly change how much profit we made so it was also important that we calculated how much profit we would make in each location both with and without solar panels.
After we had received news on whether we could use solar panels or not, we started preparing our presentation on the area we’d chosen and why; and also why we did not choose the other three locations. Our presentation had to be structured and our points backed up with statistics and proof.
At the end of the day, the shareholders we were presenting to voted on which of the groups had presented the best and the winning group received a trophy. However, this was not the only prize to be won. One person from each group was selected by our group mentor to win a prize for showing hard work, organisation, enthusiasm and generally good performance throughout the day. It seemed to me that most of us had risen to the challenge, making it a hard decision for the group supervisors.
I thoroughly enjoyed the day and I think I can say we all feel more confident in ourselves and in knowing what working might be like when we’re older. It also helped us to have a clearer idea of what we want to do after GCSEs and of what is to come in the future. It was nothing less than an amazing day thanks to the hard work of the people from the Business In The Community Business Class programme and the participation of all the professionals and students involved.