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EDUCATION


handle money in personal life, the chances of becoming successful in business are severely limited. “In an ideal world, a younger person should leave school with sound financial literacy and an understanding of what a life in business entails,” he says. “The former should be provided in the classroom and the latter via practical experience in the workplace”.


Getting down to business Such practical experience in the workplace is something Martin Mann staunchly supports. Mann coordinates the work-shadowing programme for the Guernsey IoD and he insists the benefits to students are huge. Year 12 students shadow a senior manager


for three days to gain an understanding of a manager’s role and a basic understanding of how a business operates. “These schemes [sponsored by KPMG] have been running in Guernsey for 20 years now, so they are well established and respected,” Mann explains. “Students frequently attend board and client meetings; they sign formal confidentiality agreements – they are treated like adults not children. It is quite daunting for them and provides a real challenge.” IoD Jersey also operates a shadowing


scheme run on similar lines with the best students taken to the Annual IoD Convention in London, and support is coming from the corporate sector, with companies such as PwC operating shadowing schemes too (see right). Unsurprisingly for the Channel Islands,


the finance industries are also playing a key role in introducing younger people to business. According to Carla Harris, Communications Manager at Jersey Finance, students have been very responsive to a number of initiatives,


including their Your Life in Finance scheme. “In total, 124 placements were offered this year through schemes involving Jersey Finance – in secondary schools, through the Advance to Graduate Finance scheme, which offers a direct route into the workplace for adults aged 20 and above, and from the Highlands College BTEC Business Studies group,” she explains. “Feedback from students has shown they have found the initiatives informative, enjoyable, exciting, insightful and, unsurprisingly, hard work. Others add it’s helped them expand their CV, given them a stepping stone to applying for university, given them confidence, and in some cases has led to being offered a job or helped them make a decision about pursuing a certain career.” Businesses clearly have a vested interest


in attracting young people and giving them the tools they need, but it is obvious that there is a distinct difference between financial awareness and business knowledge. This begs the question – do you really need both to get ahead? Many good businesses fail, not because the concept is flawed but because those in charge cannot manage money properly. Paul Richardson sums it up best: “For a


successful company, businesses acumen and money management go hand in hand. You take one of these elements out of the equation and you’re severely disadvantaged.” The onus, he argues, has to be on ensuring students are adequately equipped with all the skills they need when they start work. Businesses seem to be doing what they can, maybe it is time for the government to get its act together. n


DAVID BURROWS is a freelance financial journalist


Work shadowing in action


PwC has just launched a partnership with Guernsey Careers Service that aims to promote a better working relationship between businesses and schools.


Evelyn Brady, People Partner at PwC, explains that this is a far cry from the much maligned UK work experience programmes of the past that saw young people stuffing envelopes and filling kettles. “At PwC we take work shadowing seriously. If talented young people have a bad experience at our workplace, they will not want to come back,” she explains. “We look to develop communication skills and to encourage young people to dust themselves down and be positive if they don’t get it right first time.”


Brady appreciates the value of a broad education, but adds: “Some of the biggest achievers in the business world were not especially academic – what is crucial is self-awareness and good communication. Genuine leadership is about inspiration, and these core skills if nurtured correctly can make you a very confident and highly successful person.”


Significantly PwC has included teachers in the programme too. “Teachers can bring more back to the classroom if they have a better idea of what employers are looking for,” Brady argues. “Engaging with both teachers and pupils by inviting them into the workplace is hugely positive.”


repayment 60 businesslife.co February/March 2012


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