OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Work Experience Reimagined: getting students to tackle business problems

Work experience programs generally give students a taster for a specific industry. However, they often fall short of giving students actual real world skills that they need to succeed in the workforce. "The Experience" links local businesses or charities who have business problems with students who want to help solve those problems, helping students build employable skills.

Photo of Jes Simson
4 3

Written by

Work experience programs generally give students a taster for a specific industry.  However, they often fall short of giving students actual real world skills that they need to succeed in the workforce. 

"The Experience" links local businesses or charities who have business problems with highschool who want to help solve those problems, helping them build employable skills. 

This work experience program could run as an elective subject or afterschool club program. 

Step 1: The Brief

Teachers and students work with local businesses to build a business brief.  The brief would include the specific business problem that needs to be addressed.  Information about the businesses key stakeholders / customers / profit areas / costs etc. Any information that the business thinks will aid the students (eg: P&L Statements / consumer breakdowns - note, this will be difficult give confidentiality issues.    

Includes an excursion to the business - to see how it actually works. 


Step 2: Mapping out the business model


Students work together to map out the company's business model and highlight any areas for improvement. 

Step 3: Splitting off into teams


Students split off into teams to address different business issues.  They research different ways to help build the business and come up with possible sollutions.  Students are able to conduct market research, prototype and iterate different solutions and run financial models. 

During this phase, there is an opportunity to bring in community business leaders to help students come to grips with different business problems.  Teachers or mentors will also be able to run lessons about specific skills (eg: how to build a financial model). 

In this example, various teams address:
  • Diversifying Rebecca's Bagels' channels (eg: creating a delivery service for nearby office workers / creating a pop up cart in the nearby train station / creating on-brand partnerships with other companies in the shopping mall )
  • Increasing Rebecca's Bagels' marketing efforts (eg: creating marketing and social media campaigns)
  • Increasing Rebecca's Bagels' product offering (eg: trying to develop new flavours / appealing to a specific group (eg: people with allergies) / finding a new product that works well with bagels)

Step 4: Pitch Day

Teams pitch their best ideas to their teachers and to the business ower, who is able to take those ideas and use them to build their business.  This stage will also help student's hone their public speaking, selling and presenting skills.  

The business owner can sit down with all teams and offer them useful feedback.

The winning team could also participate in work experience during a holiday at the business, giving them the opportunity to help put their idea into action. 

 

How is your idea specifically increasing access to employment opportunities and pathways for young people?

This idea aims to increase business acumen and help students develop employable skills.

The idea emerged from:

  • An individual

How do you envision your idea being implemented?

  • I'm more throwing the idea out there to inspire potential implementers

4 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Louise Prideaux
Team

Great idea! So often work experience ends up being useless because people are too busy to involve the student in the real work, and they just become great at labeling envelopes or making tea.

It would be great if multiple schools were involved in each challenge to broaden it out to the community and encourage some healthy competition beyond the school gates.

Photo of Jes Simson
Team

Hey Louise, great idea about the competition. It could also be great to try and cross pollinate ideas between schools to foster a sense of community and increase collaboration skills.

View all comments