Woodrush High students enjoy high pressure world of business

Year 10 Business and Enterprise Day was a great success at Woodrush High School. The entire year group were ‘off timetable’ doing challenges as varied as crisis management, reviving a toxic brand and trying new ways of communication.

The day kicked off with outside speakers. Simon Beckett spoke about his expanding business from farming to food retail, hospitality and lettings. Richard Whitby from Crisis Solutions talked about their work helping large organisations deal with unexpected events and adverse publicity. Gill Hutchinson from Aardvark Marketing shared with the students some more examples of how brand management can sometimes go wrong if there are problems with food safety and product recalls to manage.

The students then spent the rest of day in smaller groups. They did exercises using different communication styles (DiSC) and were challenged with guessing games and building origami models with very basic instructions.

They then tried a ‘Zombie Attack’ crisis management exercise. Their team had to plan what to do if Birmingham was under threat from the outside and schools were instructed over a radio news bulletin to ‘lock-down’. Some responses involved drama, modelling or splitting into expert groups to each tackle one problem in detail. In the science labs the staff improvised an electrical blackout by cutting the lights, drawing the blinds and using Bunsen burners as an emergency option.

The afternoon was different again, the students were challenged with reviving a brand that wasn’t selling well and had a competition to come up with the best new ideas for reviving the brands’ success.

Nila Choudhury, ASPIRE Coordinator and Teacher of Business and Computing, who organised the day, expressed her thanks for the help and resources provided by Richard Whitby, Gill Hutchinson and Simon Beckett. “The students gained an insight into high pressure scenarios and campaigns. They worked superbly as a team and showcased their skills throughout the day. The external speakers engaged and stimulated the students with their expertise and experiences. This was a successful day all around.”

Gill Hutchinson of Aardvark Marketing Consultants Ltd is the Woodrush High School Enterprise Advisor. Gill is one of a successful team of 40 local business leaders in Worcestershire as the LEP are the first in the country to have every school engaged in the programme.