Envision at Petchey Academy

Year 12 students take their community social action projects to the next level

On Tuesday 13th November, a group of students from Year 12 took part in their first Business Mentoring session of Envision’s Community-Apprentice competition. The Petchey Academy students travelled to the offices of McDermott Will & Emery (MWE); one of the largest and most successful international law firms in the world.

The MWE mentors have generously agreed to support the students at key points in the ten-month programme. Much like the TV series The Apprentice, it requires students to demonstrate personal qualities whilst working in teams to manage their own projects.  Unlike the TV show however, with Envision the students compete against other schools to see who can make the biggest positive impact on their community.

Tackling social issues that students care about

The programme, which has been recognised by the Department of Education as an effective model for employer engagement, inspires students to develop their employability skills while tackling real-life problems.

Students tackle whatever issues matter most to them. The two teams at Petchey Academy this year are Anti-Suicide Squad and No More Body Shaming (NMBS). Anti-Suicide Squad are addressing the problem of suicide, addressing the fact that it is a topic that has historically been swept under the rug. NMBS on the other hand are working on tackling body shaming and promoting body confidence.

Developing the skills that employers are looking for!

The competition requires students to develop, and crucially evidence, four key skills: grit, communication, teamwork and creativity. In the first mentoring session, mentors provided students with examples of how to develop teamwork and creativity skills and evidencing how valuable these skills are in their own jobs.

Throughout the Community-Apprentice competition, teams take part in inter-school challenges. The first of these, the Film Challenge, develops team-working and communication skills by challenging teams to produce a film of no more than two minutes explaining why their issue matters in a single take! This is a demanding challenge for individuals who are still coming together as a team, however both rose to the challenge. 

The next Business Mentoring session will take place on Friday 7th December, where the two teams will be getting tips to help their communication skills. This will prepare them for the second part of the competition, the Pitching Challenge, where they will have to present their idea of how they aim to best make a positive impact in their community. A panel of judges will assess their pitch and much like in the show Dragons Den, they will fund the teams up to £100 each depending upon how impressed they are. Fingers crossed for both teams!