School Business Challenge 2012 – Shocking Statistics!!

Alison Mannell’s business primarily focuses on helping young people gain employment or set up their own business so giving schools a real business challenge is a perfect way to get a young person’s view and perspective on how she should market her products and services to them and the students parents.

“What better way to do market research than involving the very people you are targeting! It is a winning solution for all involved. The students get access to my knowledge, time, experience and business for two weeks. I get valuable market research carried out and work done by the very people I am trying to help and the school fulfils their curriculum objectives, not to mention the value the students receive that they carry through to their learning.” Alison Mannell, Director of Firebird Training Limited

Alison Mannell of Firebird Training Limited works in partnership with AB Consulting Ltd/Skills Workshop, to deliver Business Challenge within schools. It is an extended employability skills programme taking place over 3 – 10 days depending on age group and the needs of the school and their learners. It is used as extended work-related learning activities or as a good quality replacement for general work experience.

Shocking statistics uncovered by year 12 students on their School’s Business Challenge fortnight!!!

Over the last three years Alison has been fortunate enough to be involved in a local school’s (Maplesden Noakes School) Business Challenge fortnight they run for their year 12’s in July.

Each year she has provided a group of between four to seven young people a business problem she was faced with.

In 2012 Alison set up a new programme to help people between the ages of 16-25 to secure employment called JOB ACADEMY.

Alison says “This is like a Job Bootcamp for young people. They work intensively with me and my colleagues for two weeks in a group environment to build their confidence, create winning CVs, build their personal brand so they can really sell the benefits of employing them to an employer and to help them secure a job.

After that any individual that has not found employment remains our concern and we work with them until they are employed.

The challenge I set my group this year was to find out who might be interested in buying the programme. Who would be willing to pay for the service and how much they are likely to pay for it.”

To carry out their task they talked to companies, teachers and parents on the telephone, emailed them the surveys, researched grants and other schemes on the internet, collected the data, analysed the results and evaluated them.

The research uncovered some shocking results!

  • They discovered that 963,000 16 – 24 year olds were unemployed.
  • Two-fifths of all those who are unemployed are now aged under 25!
  • Graduate unemployment for under-25-year-olds is 17.5 per cent!
  • In the South East of England 8,990 18 – 24 year olds are out of work and claiming Job Seekers benefits!


“They recommended that I went ahead with ‘JOB ACADEMY’  as there was a lot of interest and it had proven to be successful in the programme that had already been run. Thanks to Hallam, Smita, Amber and Carmen I am running JOB ACADEMIES across Kent and Medway with great success.”