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.
Year 7 ‘World of Chocolate’ Challenge (English Department)
With a trip to Cadburys World for inspiration (and plenty of tasting opportunities), Year 7 are tasked with the challenge of designing, advertising and marketing their own brand of chocolate bar. Students consider every aspect of the design, from ingredients, to packaging, and develop teamwork skills to prepare for their presentation at the end of the week. Guests from the David Nieper Ltd factory form the judging panel and the winning team receive a special prize at the end of the week.
Year 8 ‘Masterchef’ Challenge (Design & Technology Department)
With Owen Taylor & Sons Ltd providing the ingredients, Year 8 are challenged to don their chef’s aprons and hats and embark on a five day culinary challenge!
Day 1 is a ‘getting to know your team’ day with quizzes and challenges. The following three days, students cook, design, create a team name and matching apron and market a product through a radio advert/jingle. On the final day they work as a team through a number of cookery rounds, which they can be eliminated from, through both peer and staff judging (these include making pancakes, a mystery dish with no recipe and the final of presenting a dessert). Owen Taylor and staff from David Nieper Academy form the judging panel and the best tasting dishes win!
Year 8 Denby Pottery Challenge (Humanities Department)
The Year 8s are tasked with designing, marketing and pitching a small pottery set inspired by the local history of Hardwick Hall. Working in teams, with an appointed project manager, students are to consider all aspects of the design process: the costing, pricing and marketing strategy, in addition to writing a persuasive ‘Dragon’s Den’ style pitch. The first challenge day is spent at Denby Pottery, where students are given a tour of the factory and listen to a series of talks from experts at the company. They learn about local geology associated with obtaining Derbyshire clay, as well as the science behind how Denby products are glazed to the highest of standards. Day two is spent back at school, developing their own pottery set designs, creating a marketing strategy, brushing up on presentation skills and learning how to write a persuasive sales pitch. On the third and final day of the challenge, students display their work on a stall, where judges from Denby Pottery discuss the final outcomes with students. This leads to a shortlisting of the three best designs who are able to pitch in front of the judges.
Year 9 Bowmer & Kirkland Challenge
The Year 9s are tasked with designing a sustainable eco house for their challenge. We introduce the ideas of sustainability and environmental impact and students research issues around sustainability (materials, costs, impact, energy resources etc.). Following on from this research, they design a house that fits the specification given to them (also including a section on garden design). These are produced in small project groups and made into a display that can then be shown to the visiting judges. In amongst the design process, we fit in a visit to the Bowmer & Kirkland site to see construction in action, and a trip to Magna science centre to get some hands on experience.
Year 10 ‘World of Work’ Week
With a view to preparing our students for the world of work, the Year 10 challenge takes a more formal approach. Students spend the week preparing for a mock interview which takes place with one of our many employer volunteers from various companies such as, David Nieper Ltd, Owen Taylor & Sons Ltd, National Grid, Learning Unlimited, members of Alfreton Rotary, STEM ambassadors and trustees of David Nieper Academy. Students are able to practise and refine their interview skills throughout the week in preparation for this invaluable experience and receive constructive feedback of how to improve for the future. Staff also deliver sessions on how to write a CV, application form and cover letter and students are able to explore hundreds of different career options using our online platform, Unifrog.
Once the formalities are finished, students also take part in an employer challenge, in association with Owen Taylor, to create their own, unique burger. Owen Taylor then recreate the winning burger and sell it to the general public from their shop in Leabrooks.
And if that wasn’t enough to keep our students occupied, we also fit in an activity day at Cromford Canal with students taking part in lots of fun activities including canoeing, scaling a climbing wall and plenty of teamwork games. The week finishes with an afternoon at Alfreton Leisure Centre with badminton, aerobics and access to the gym to let off some steam!