The Buckinghamshire Opportunity:
Buckinghamshire is the entrepreneurial heart of Britain where, for well over a decade, more businesses have started than anywhere else in the UK. In Buckinghamshire the heartbeat of enterprise is strong; we act decisively to successfully exploit new ideas and opportunities. It is no accident that we are the creative film engine for James Bond and Star Wars at Pinewood Studios, the home of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone and the birthplace of the Paralympic movement at Stoke Mandeville. In Bucks, there is an over-representation in all the Plan for Growth sectors including life-sciences, space, creative industries and advanced engineering, and our economic growth will be fuelled by the supply of a skilled, flexible workforce needed by our firms.
To achieve this, it is important that our young people feel connected to the world of work through their education, to see the relevance of what they are learning, and to discover the many varied careers, opportunities and progression routes that are available to them. ‘Enterprise’ in its broadest sense needs to be as intrinsic to education as music and sport are. For this to be possible, business involvement is essential to bring commercial learning and experience into the classroom, to develop in our young people the vital soft skills such as problem-solving, decision-making, confidence, professionalism, teamwork and leadership to prepare them for the world of work.
OppsinBucks is the platform for people in education and people in business to connect, and to work together to deliver practical skills and real experience based learning opportunities including workshops, real business challenges, live briefs from industry and work experience.
The vision is of a two-way inspiration and mentorship between people in business and students, where all gain from the experience.
Jack Welch, former chief executive of General Electric, was one of the first to champion reverse mentoring, back in 1999. As the internet was gaining traction, he paired twenty-somethings with senior executives to teach them the new technology. In the past few years, this form of mentoring has been spreading rapidly, largely focused on social media and mobile technology but also on diversity issues and how the age group known as millennials want to work. (20.11.13, ft.com)
Through this platform, people in business can find out more about their customer group, future employees, and run live briefs by and set challenges for the innovative and disruptive young minds – and just see what comes back!