Direct Entry’s Enterprise Project

The very first cohort from our 14-16 provision have been given the opportunity to become Enterprise Project Leaders for 12 weeks as they embark upon an entrepreneurial journey to gain the knowledge and skills required to tackle the world of business and construction as they renovate the outdoor space at one of our campuses.

Read their blog below to keep up to date with their progress!

Week 1 – An introduction to Enterprise

This week students attended a virtual workshop with Jess Widdowson, Enterprise Team Leader, where they had the chance to dig deep and think about their own interests and hobbies and how they might turn those into businesses. They were also introduced to the world of entrepreneurship and the importance of social media platforms, advertising and reputability of a business or company as well as the different types of people that enter the industry.

Students have been tasked with designing their own business, thinking about what they would sell, how and to whom. We’ll catch up with them next week to see what they’ve come up with.

Week 2 – Initial project planning

Students have been busy brainstorming this week! The second session of the enterprise project saw students really engaged and excited to be involved in the project. Jess opened up a discussion that unveiled a wealth of ideas for the project… our favourite suggestion of the day was to fundraise for a basketball hoop.

Our students have expressed how much they are looking forward to getting started with the project and told us they can’t wait to make their outdoor space look better and become a more accessible place to visit.

Week 3 – Brainstorm the fundraising project

This week, students were audience to a very special guest speaker. Karen Walke is a fundraising specialist for local charities and came along to chat to our young project leaders about different approaches to fundraising and how she can help with their project. Karen also identified the importance of understanding where the project is now, where the students would like it to be and most importantly, how they are going to get there.

Our students came up with some great ideas from contacting companies for donations to raising awareness for individual contributions. Some down-time now for students whilst they re-charge their batteries over the half term break but we are sure they will bounce back into their roles when term begins, ready for the next step in their entrepreneurial journey.

Week 4 – A visit from the Architect

Students returned to their sessions this week after a well-needed break. Over the half-term, they have decided that they would like to incorporate a basket ball hoop, shed and some planters into the renovation plans, so it was time to pitch this to an architect.

Matt Hutton, Director of Bond Bryan Architects Ltd., is responsible for the design of two College buildings, the Sixth Form centre and the Cube Construction centre so seemed the perfect guest speaker for our students this week. Matt discussed the world of architecture with the soon-to-be Project Leaders with his life story including his educational journey and spoke of the wealth of careers available in the industry.

This week our students have some fantastic news to report… after a visit from Karen in Week 3, students were inspired to reach out to companies to find out if they could bag themselves some of the basketball equipment that they would like to make available in the outdoor space. They wrote to Sheffield Sharks and they have been in touch to express their interest in supplying the project with some goodies! We can’t wait to find out what happens next!

Week 5 – Time to get stuck in…

Students have had a fantastic day this week! They have been joined by Stephen Widdowson and Lewis Winstanley of Oaksbridge Construction who kindly came along to deliver an informative joinery workshop. The group worked together by safely using hand-held power tools to create 8 expertly made planters whilst chatting to Steve and Lewis about the industry and their careers.

We are so proud of what our students have achieved already! Check out the final products below.

Week 6 & 7 – Let’s great creative

Over the past two weeks, students have been getting creative with colour as they were joined by Polychrometrist, Raychel McGuin.

Artist, Illustrator and Colour Alchemist, Raychel works with the energy of colour, using her intrinsic knowledge plus over 20 years of experience to create ‘roadmaps’ for personal development, business growth and project planning and joined the students to help them create their very own mural.

Students decided that they wanted to mural to encapsulate all of their hard work as well as the togetherness that they have embraced whilst working on the project so decided to include all of their names in and amongst the artwork.

The planters that were made in week 5 were also subject to creative influences as students painted each and every one using luminous paint that can withstand the harsh winter weather.

Week 8 – Gardening expertise…

This week, students were joined by Carole Wickham, a florist owner based in Barnsley, as they got together for a virtual session about all things gardening. Carole spoke with the students about how to properly care for the greenery that will feature in the outdoor space that they have been working hard to renovate.

Carole discussed how the weather and seasons can affect plants and how it is important to think ahead and plant the seeds for spring flowers in the winter. Carole also spoke about the benefits of working outside and how it can have a positive impact on students’ mental wellbeing.

Some students who are taking part in the project told us of their previous gardening experience and shared stories of tomato growing and pesticide control… we can’t wait to see how the planters look at the launch event!

Week 9 – Festive fun!

Christmas is almost here… and what’s Christmas without some festive fun? Students met with Carole once again to make Christmas wreaths that can be used at the launch event on 16 December. The wreaths were complete with chocolate box bows and berries and the students were very pleased with what they had created. Take a look at some of their creations below!

Week 10 – An Introduction to Events Management

As the launch event grows ever closer, this week students were audience to Zoe Wadsworth from Fab Events. Zoe discussed her top tips for hosting a successful event including the importance of communication, allocating roles and responsibilities, working as a team, accessibility, amenities and equipment as well as the weather.

Zoe’s most important message to the students was to have fun and enjoy the event. Zoe will be attending the launch event in a few week’s time and looks forward to seeing what the students come up with.

Week 11 & 12 – The Main Event

Over the past two weeks students have been preparing for their all-important final event! Week 11 had our students organising the PA system, gazebo, hot drinks and sweet treats for the guests as well as any last-minute jobs before the launch.

Wednesday 16 December saw the arrival of the big day! Staff from across the College as well as guest speakers who have supported the students on their journey so far, came to see what the students had created and were blown away by the transformation of the outdoor space. The students’ hand-crafted planters were there, complete with budding plants, the basketball hoop was ready to be used and the gazebo was packed full of goodies. The students also managed a raffle; staff and visitors were encouraged to buy a ticket to be in with the chance of winning a chocolate bouquet to add to the College’s fundraising efforts for Mission Christmas and they raised £114!

The event was a huge success! Students received a badge and certificate as a token of the College’s appreciation for all their hard work and dedication to the project.

Well done to all our Project Leaders!

Last updated: 17th December 2020

Originally posted on: 14th October 2020