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On 02/11/2017 a group of 20 Year 12 students took part in their first business mentoring session of the Community-Apprentice competition between Hamstead Hall and Unum- the UK's leading employee benefits providers.


The mentors have generously agreed to support the students at key points in the ten-month programme, which, like the TV series The Apprentice, requires students to demonstrate personal qualities whilst working in teams to manage their own projects.  In this case, however, the students will be competing to see who can make the biggest positive impact on their community, rather than the most profit.


Tackling real-life problems


The programme, which has recently 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 can tackle whatever issues matter most to them, but they have to reach consensus within their team about what that is.  Team HOLD ON have decided to tackle Homelessness and Team UNITE want to break down barriers between the young and the elderly.   

 Zoe Semmens one of the mentors, described the first mentoring session with both teams as ‘Educational, challenging and rewarding!’


Developing employability skills


The competition requires students to develop, and crucially evidence, three key skills; teamwork, creativity and communication.   In the first mentoring session, mentors provided students with examples to demonstrate 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.