At NGi we promote employability and enterprise skills training for young people, these are the valuable soft skills that employers would like them to have. Evidence shows that business people consider these to be very important factors in hiring school, college and university leavers. So we were delighted when the community and Economic Development teams asked us to provide something at the Annual Rushcliffe Business Partnership Showcase on Wednesday 1st November at the British Geological Survey Head Office in Keyworth.
Two, Rushcliffe Schools brought Business Studies students to the event. Beginning at 8:30am the students received a master-class in business networking, This contained the reasons why all business undertake networking, we then looked at elevator pitch's and social skill etiquette used at these events.
Students where then set a task, in pairs they visited exhibitor’s stalls to gather information and practice the skills demonstrated. This required them to talk with business people and acquire the facts required by the task set them. They were observed during this process and feedback was sought from the people they talked to.
The final section of the class firstly asked the students to reflect on their performance, and using this coupled with both observations of NGi staff leading the session alongside the feedback provided by exhibitors offered a full evaluation.
The students accompanied by staff from the schools then attended some of the keynote speeches of the day to round off their time at the event.
Our aim was to give students a real experience of an activity that they will probably have to undertake in their working lives. Further we wished to equip them with basic techniques and strategies for taking advantage of such opportunities. We were delighted by the response of those students involved who embraced the exercise wholeheartedly, while admitting to being nervous beforehand. All felt they benefitted from the event, not least in having a technique to apply when introducing themselves to business people.
What did those attending think:
Marie McLoone - Teacher of Business Studies at Rushcliffe Academy;
'Thank so you much for this opportunity. The students raved about it and made other students feel quite envious. They also said they would present to others next year to encourage younger students to attend'.
Louise Caunt - Business Engagement and Work Related Learning & Careers at South Nottinghamshire Academy;
'One of the girls came to see me and said that the event had really helped with her confidence and that she really enjoyed it'.
Emma - Student at South Nottinghamshire Academy;
'I was not totally sure what to expect when I was asked to attend this event. I found the NGi Introduction to Networking workshop really interesting and informative, before I was launched out into the networking arena, to find out more about the business who were exhibiting. It was a brilliant experience, which really pushed me out of my comfort zone'.
Mackenzie - Student at South Nottinghamshire Academy;
'I was another student on the visit who did not really understand how important business networking was! This opportunity really linked in well to my GCSE Business course. The practical networking session was a great opportunity to build my confidence in speaking to adults in the world of work and it helped me to understand why they were exhibiting. This was a really great opportunity, which I would fully recommend to other students in schools'.
Ben - Student at South Nottinghamshire Academy;
'This event was something ‘different’ to the usual school day. The NGi workshop was pitched at the right level and it certainly made me realise that at some point in my future career, I will most likely be doing some networking myself. I enjoyed being a young networker and learning about all of the businesses at the event. I definitely enhanced my communication skills by undertaking this opportunity. Thank you for the invite!'
Kyle - Student at South Nottinghamshire Academy;
'I had a really fun morning. I found the whole experience very useful and enjoyed listening to the speakers. It was good to hear about their experiences in life and how they have overcome times of struggle. I am sure that I will use the skills that I gained from this opportunity, at some point in my future. I realise now just how big networking is!'