As a Prince's Trust Young Ambassador I represent the Trust at events and share my experience of running a business. Today I was a guest speaker at Fairfield High School in Bristol.
This was my first event as a Young Ambassador, so there was a bit of pressure to do the Trust proud and to represent my business too. It was a little nerve wracking to stand in front of a class of 30 15 year olds, but actually the majority seemed very interested in what I had to say and gave some good feedback to my questions throughout the lesson.
There are lots of talented pupils at Fairfield as it is a specialist visual and performing arts school, and many of the pupils I spoke to today are keen to start their own businesses when they are older. I met students who aspire to be fashion designers and computer game programmers.
Most of the pupils weren't aware of the Prince's Trust so I explained what the charity does, and who they can help. The pupils seemed interested to know that the Prince's Trust can help people into business, or into careers in music through the 'Get Into' programme. The Prince's Trust also helps people who are under achieving at school, have come out of care, who have a history of alchohol/drug abuse, who have been homeless or in trouble with the law, and those who have been unemployed for 6 months or more. There are many programmes that help children from 14 yrs to adults of 30 yrs.
Today I gave the pupils a questionnaire to get them thinking about their attitude towards money. As young people their expenditure is fairly low, and as expected their priorities at the moment include food, games and going out with friends, but it allowed them to consider putting money aside for a rainy day. When asked 'where does their money go' one pupil replied 'to the Government'. Very well said, I thought.
The pupils were great at identifying the positives and negatives of running your own business, and what attributes it takes to be a successful business person. They understood the importance of writing a business plan. I asked them to complete a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis of a small business (eg a local convenience store) in comparison to a large company/chain store (supermarket chain). This they found a little more challenging, however they did grasp that large companies often move in, pushing the little shops out.
Overall, I think the pupils went away with lots to think about and I hope they gained a lot from the lesson. I wasn't as nervous as I thought I would be, and in fact I had a lot more planned to do with the class, but they were saved by the bell.