There are few things more terrifying than standing up in front of a room full of professionals and delivering a presentation your job depends on.
But a group of students at Havant Academy will in future take that challenge in their stride after being immersed in the competitive world of business for a special 10-week programme.
The 13 and 14-year-olds wowed an audience of experts and dignitaries with their business pitches after being mentored by businessmen and women from property management firm Fasset at Langstone Technology Park.
Their task was to sell the park as the ideal location for new business, with aspects like cost, location, transport and parking taken into account – and they excelled themselves.
Julie Taylor, the academy’s principal, says: ‘I was hugely impressed with what I saw.
‘Some of the children who are normally very quiet and introverted at school stood up and spoke very clearly and confidently.
‘You can see how far they’ve come in a short time – this programme has given them invaluable business experience and it’s been good for them to learn from successful people whom they can look up to as excellent role models.’
James Griffiths, 14, led his team’s presentation and admits the experience has opened his eyes up to the world of business.
He says: ‘It has made me a better team player and given me a real understanding of business.
‘I feel I can take on anything and work with people I didn’t know that well before. This experience really makes me want to get involved in business in the future.’
Gary Medlow, managing director of Fasset, enjoyed the presentations. He says: ‘We participate in this programme for two reasons, one is that we can and the other is that we should.
‘Our staff make time from their busy schedules to spend with these young people because they enjoy showing them the world of work and what skills they need for it.’
Tina Hennessy, operations manager for the Portsmouth and South East Hampshire Education Business Partnership, which organised the Learning Excel Aspire Programme (LEAP), adds: ‘We are extremely grateful for Fasset’s time and effort and very proud of the standard of presentation the young people who signed up to the programme have achieved.’