Connecting enterprise skills with innovative fashion

The development of enterprise skills is high on the schools agenda. Enterprise is more than the creation of entrepreneurs, it is about a can-do, positive attitude and equipping people with the confidence to develop a career and vocational interests. Enterprise therefore supports the development of a wide range of work, professional skills and capabilities, including resilience, risk taking, creativity and innovation, as well as a self-belief that starting a business is a viable career choice and one of the most exciting and challenging things a person will ever do (Lord Young, 2014).

Last Thursday, 12th October, Heather Longford and Gemma Westaway, from Plymouth High School for Girls organised an Enterprise Day for Year 8 (120 pupils). Terms such as Business knowledge, branding, corporate identity and marketing were explored via a task related to the world of fashion. Through the task of creating a new product (a fashion garment) students had to be creative, innovative, work under pressure and keep to a deadline. The task allowed students to apply their business knowledge, develop their negotiating skill, and learn about costing, branding and marketing etc. On the day, Plymouth University business student ambassadors helped pupils with their business task and research.

We really appreciated all the business advice and guidance the girls were given by the Plymouth University Business Student Ambassadors. Enterprise activities are a valuable way to develop skills the students will need throughout their careers. They encapsulate our school motto “For Life, Not School, We Learn,” Heather Longford, Careers & Work Experience Coordinator, Plymouth High School for Girls.

The PHSG pupils approached the enterprise activity and the various tasks with enthusiasm and a healthy competitive outlook. Group work, creativity and research led the day into a happy and successful catwalk presentation where a panel judged the best presentation and design.

Economics, business and enterprise education is about equipping children and young people with the knowledge, skills and understanding to help them make sense of the complex and dynamic economic, business and financial environment in which they live. It should help them leave school well-informed and well-prepared to function as consumers, employees and potential employers (Ofsted, 2011).

The rise in entrepreneurial activity has amounted to 600,000 more microbusinesses (firms with 0–9 employees) in existence than there were when the recession first began in 2008, and 40% more than at the turn of the century (Salvation in a start-up? RSA, May 2014.) The young generation is facing an absolutely unique economic and working environment. The most noticeable difference is that today’s young generation is more likely than ever before to set up and run their own business.

At the event, students were divided into groups to work with pals they do not usually get the opportunity to work with. Via group work students learn soft-skills that are crucial for their future employment. Moreover, active involvement in group work reinforces the learning experience further.

It was great to see the girls thriving and enjoying the enterprise day.

Students used various recycled fabrics and other material

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