It’s the last day of InspiresMe Week where students have been interning at businesses in the Workspace portfolio. The week-long scheme been organised in partnership with Business in the Community and the Greater London Authority. InspiresMe Week is different because it teaches students not just about professional life but about entrepreneurship too. It’s part of showing young people what it’s like to work in a new and growing business. 

While the students were preparing for their final Dragons’ Den-style assessment, we talked to two teachers whose students are taking part in the scheme. Desiree Hooper from Aylwood Academy and Nicola Hunt from Nightingale Academy both look after employability, community and training and have been involved in the scheme since it started three years ago.

They reflect on how much the students had enjoyed the week and the benefits they had gained from it:

Desiree: “InspiresMe Week takes place during the summer holidays. For the students, giving up their holiday time shows real dedication and the importance they attach to gaining experience and putting it on their CV. It is a privilege and a great opportunity. It’s important they recognise the element of competition is part of real life.”

Nicole: “When they get out there and they’re in the world of work, they realise it can be fun and it can be interesting and they start to look forward to that part of their lives. They love the social media aspect and I think they’ve been quite useful for the businesses in that regard.”

Desiree: “It's been fantastic. One of the students, Hector was saying that he’s amazed by the fact that people who are young have built up a business. Being in the workplace with young entrepreneurs really has opened his eyes.”

Nicole: “Yes, I agree. They can see how people have taken their passions and made it into a business.  It has opened their eyes to the wide spectrum of businesses out there.”

Desiree: “And that’s why this scheme is important. These small businesses don’t have the internship schemes and so it’s harder to gain experience in them.”

Nicole: “And many of our students are creative and don’t get a chance to show it… especially in a professional context.”
Desiree: “We're grateful for anything employers can offer. Qualifications and academic results are important but those other skills are vital. These are life skills they'll use forever.”

Nicole: “You get the chance to watch them develop into adults and see the progress in terms of their characters, personalities and skills. Especially their confidence!”

Follow what's been happening at InspiresMe Week with the hashtag #IMWeek2014