Through the strong links we have built with our employer partners, we are able to provide many opportunities for students to develop their employability skills and an understanding of how classroom learning can be applied to real-life contexts. Our unique employer partner projects form part of Enterprise Week, a week in which students take part in numerous employability challenges, working towards an overall outcome at the end of the week. Enterprise Week is integral to the success of our employability agenda and is outlined below in more detail.
Alfreton Challenge – For Enterprise Week this year, Year 7 were given the challenge of rebranding their hometown of Alfreton. Alongside local graphic designers, they worked in teams to create new logos and slogans for the town, with the aim of celebrating Alfreton’s rich history and showcasing its exciting future. As the week progressed, they took on the additional challenge of designing new works of art to help promote the town and raise the profile of our community in the local area.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park – They took a trip to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park to check out the competition and gather inspiration for their artistic creations. Upon returning to school, they used clay to make scale models of their designs, ready to pitch their ideas to their rival groups and potential employers on Friday.
Denby Pottery Challenge – Year 8 had a fantastic week participating in the Denby Pottery Challenge, designed to encourage students to work collaboratively to develop a range of pottery using Hardwick Hall as inspiration.
Their week began with an informative presentation from the Denby staff, diving into the intricacies of product development, manufacturing, marketing, and promotion of Denby products. Year 8 then visited Denby Pottery, where students witnessed the entire process of pottery creation, from design to completion. This immersive experience provided valuable insights that would inform their own range of pottery for the forthcoming challenge.
Cromford Canal/ Black Rocks – During this week, pupils took a day off from the challenge to work on their team-building skills. Year 8 spent a sunny day at either Black Rocks or Cromford Canal participating in a range of activities, from problem-solving to abseiling, rock climbing, canoeing, wilderness training, and traversing.
Year 9 spent Enterprise Week with the mathematics and science faculties, where their activities were themed around surprising STEM careers (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).
Yorkshire Wildlife Park – Pupils took a trip to Yorkshire Wildlife Park, near Doncaster, to attend educational seminars while exploring the park. This is one of the world’s largest centres for polar bears outside of Canada. The classroom sessions were themed around wildlife careers (both at the park and in the wider world of conservation), marketing strategies and considerations, and endangered species.
British Army – During the week, soldiers from the infantry engagement team and the royal artillery engagement team put pupils through their paces with a variety of operational challenges, including firing air-powered paper missiles and manoeuvring equipment through hazardous terrain. These soldiers regularly work together as part of the Army’s recruitment teams, showing the pupils that there are many more careers available in the armed forces across a range of skill areas than just the obvious infantryman.
Forensic Science Investigation – Pupils spent a day investigating a scenario involving a suspicious death at an allotment. Across their five sessions, which included finding fingerprints and conducting a simulated post-mortem examination by dissecting a heart, and with the ‘help’ of a true crime podcast that staff had put together the previous week, pupils had to decide how and when the victim died, along with who might be responsible.
Owen Taylor Burger Challenge – Year 10 took on the burger challenge led by Owen Taylor Ltd. The students were required to work in teams of six to design, make, and pitch a new burger (including packaging, a poster, and a carry-on box). The winning team created the ‘Baldie Burger, a tasty combination of flavours. Having won the challenge, it was discovered that the burger’s name was in reference to Dylan Puha, who had recently shaved his head to raise money for MacMillan.
Nottingham Trent University – Our students embarked on an exciting trip to Nottingham Trent University. The day commenced with an engaging tour of the university campus, showcasing its vibrant facilities and lively atmosphere, followed by interactive workshop sessions that delved into the practical aspects of managing a budget during university life. It was a great opportunity for our pupils to get a taste of university life and all that it has to offer.
CV Writing – Tony Lormor, a former professional footballer, came in to share his life experiences, from the highs of his professional career to the challenges he faced due to injuries and cancer. Tony’s speech emphasised that perseverance and self-belief can go a long way in helping people achieve anything they put their minds to.
The rest of the day focused on career preparation, with workshops on CV writing and application letters leading up to a mock interview with an employer later in the week. During these interviews, pupils were asked questions based on their application forms and were able to put their CVs from Wednesday’s session to good use.
London Trip – To finish off the week, Year 10 students embarked on an exciting trip to London. They explored iconic landmarks like Tower Bridge, the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, and The Strand, even taking a boat ride along the Thames. The day was filled with action and enjoyment for all.
This year, during Enterprise Week, we focused on different university options with the students and how we could prepare them for the UCAS application process.
University of Coventry – The students’ first visit to Coventry revealed a vibrant city and an impressive university. The day’s activities, including a campus tour, an engineering workshop, and an investment seminar, were engaging and informative. The students thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and many are considering applying to Coventry University next year.
Apprenticeship Workshop – This day involved students completing some independent research on the types of courses and universities they wish to study at. Students who intend on an apprenticeship after sixth form also began adapting their CV and cover letters.
Nottingham Trent University – Year 12 students had the chance to visit Nottingham Trent University, where they gained insights into crafting their UCAS applications, including personal statements and student finance. Additionally, they explored the university’s city campus, experiencing its vibrant facilities and gaining firsthand knowledge of the university environment to aid their application decisions.
Cleethorpes Beach – As a reward for their hard work during exams and coursework deadlines, students enjoyed a seaside day at Cleethorpes Beach, filled with fun activities like cricket on the beach, crazy golf, paddling in the sea, and savouring delicious fish and chips.