YOUNGSTERS who are learning the ropes of how to run a business rubbed shoulders with other entrepreneurs at a networking event.
Business leaders from across the area were invited to a networking event held by students of the Faith and Football Enterprise and Leadership Academy.
In the scheme, a group of year 10 pupils have started up their own company, which takes orders and trades for real.
The students have taken charge of a business offering people the chance to dedicate a tree to celebration occasions such as birth or marriage, or to commemorate family members or pets.
As part of their business skills training, they organised a networking event with other businesses at Portsmouth College yesterday evening.
Student Abbie Woodford, 15, said: ‘Obviously we were a bit nervous but it has gone really well.
‘We put in a lot of hard work to plan the event and were really pleased with how many people have turned up.
‘I have had an amazing time with the academy and it has taught me some invaluable skills.’
Since the academy began in September last year, the youngsters have also been studying for a qualification from the Institute of Leadership and Management.
Mick Mellows, the director of the academy, founded Faith and Football with Pompey legend Linvoy Primus in 2002.
He said: ‘We set this up because we felt there was a lack of readiness for students and that was because they hadn’t been given the opportunity to see what business is like.
‘We tasked them with setting up this networking event to put their skills to use.’
The academy has been funded by Affinion International, which has a base in Portsmouth, and has now confirmed it will sponsor the scheme for another year.
Fiona Johnston, from Affinion International, said: ‘They’ve done really well.
‘By organising this networking event they are making contacts and getting themselves known which can only be good for their business.’
As well as running their online business, the students have been learning about life in the boardroom and how to conduct business ethically.
For more information visit trees-to-remember.co.uk.