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UK BizAcademy II – October 2011

By October 3, 2011

Biz Academy UKby Philip Kenley, Foundation Program Manager, EMEA

What a week! After all these years, I am still staggered at the amount of time given to us by employees and external speakers to support our efforts to bring youth from under-resourced and low-income communities to for a week of real-world business experience and an introduction to the world of entrepreneurship. Through BizAcademy, students spend a week working with experienced coaches and their peers to develop and present their ideas in a business environment. This past week, fourteen young people spent the week in Landmark Training with their heads held high, their eyes opened, and a whole world of opportunity now in their thinking.

Day one started with an introduction from Isabel Kelly, the Foundation’s International Director, and presentations by program alumni including ex Landmark/now Schroders Samantha Mears and ex Landmark/now Alim. Going through the task in hand with Gary Lane (who put much time and thought into coming up with the presentation activity) to having their eyes opened by Sullivan McIntyre who talked so well about Radian6 and social media monitoring technology to Charlie Cowan from NewVoiceMedia giving an insight into call centre’s and how they work and finally having Manpower Global Director Duncan Souster talk about the challenges and opportunities of the jobs market.

Day two at Staines began with Biz debutant Neil Green looking like he had been doing this all his life and talking about the Sales & Collaboration Clouds. Baptism of fire for Paul Storton and Steve Bown who along with Stuart Templeton had the unenviable task of sitting with the three teams and getting them going with their presentations. We then got to see the students sit mesmerised as Steve Garnett told his story and explained the importance of goal setting. Off our young people then went to write their first V2MOMs ably supported by willing mentors Stuart (again), Leon Markham, Catherine Simmons, Simon Jones, Tom McDonagh, Isabel and the guys from Landmark….

Special treat Day three (and spectacular view number two), in the offices of BNP Paribas. Scott Lawrence, Edwina Acheson & Sharon Johal had answered our call and set the day up. UK Investment CEO Gary Hilldrup led us off with a talk about the importance of etiquette, and Roger Price-Haworth did a session on networking. Pankaj Shah explained to us all what asset management is all about followed by the HR team of Mary Kenny-Moth and Danula McPartlin invaluably explaining about writing Cvs and interviews. We had some staff stories from Theo Payne, Liam Spillane, Chris Mark and Edwina herself (and fascinating to at last know how The Economist do it). Christian Goldsmith enlightened the kids with basic business grammar before the final presentation from salesforce global implementation lead Mandy Allen got our young people totally hooked with her story – and suddenly they all wanted to work for BNP Paribas, and not salesforce.

Day four – third and best incredible view form the top of the Millbank Tower at our PR agency – LewisPR. Suzy Ferguson explained the world of PR to all, then Ian Williams charmed and educated with a session on public speaking. Could it get any better? Maybe it did as we then rushed back to T42 to see Seun Oshinaike, a recipient of UnLtd funding, tell us his extraordinary story filled with optimism and cheer. Special mention to Yusuf Ali and Ansar Ahmed who then gave up their afternoon to sit with our students and help them with their final pitch practice – it made a huge difference.

And then there were the presentations on Day 5. Where the kids nervous? You bet. Did they deliver? Did they ever… With a host of Dragons from Barclays, Manpower, Vodafone, Teach First, AMEX, Westbrook, Mphasis, NewVoiceMedia, The Challenge, Hoxton Hall, Teach First, UnLtd, Chris Rauch & Kenny Elphick  (and The Mary Rose trust and Burberry even popped by), I was a little nervous to say the least, but I need not have been…

Special thanks to all those at Landmark Training for doing the vital jobs they do in ever harder circumstances – do not give up guys – those young people need you.

Till April…