Federation of Small Business (FSB) 3030 Event at Harris Beckenham10th February
The inaugural Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) 30.30 event took place in October at Harris Academy Beckenham. This initiative originated in Kent in November 2015 following a meeting with businesses and educationalists in Dartford Kent when businesses felt that education was not preparing students for the workplace and educationalists complained that businesses were not supportive of education.
In response to this need, Alison Parmar, representing the FSB and Lesley Tannock, now Head of Harris Careers, worked together to create the first FSB30.30 event. The aim of the event was to develop the soft skills required by all students as they move closer to entering the workplace. Communication skills and the ability to network are essential for any student. To date, the event has been aimed at students not considering university but also students who may be considering competitive courses like law where they will be expected to find vacation schemes throughout their degrees. Since that time, approximately 1800 students have now attended one of these excellent events and received a certificate of attendance.
The event is run over two hours and supported by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). Initially the students have a presentation and then there is an hour where the students have the opportunity to speed network and develop their skills by talking to a wide range of employers.
The Harris Academy Beckenham event came about when Chandra Sharma, an active volunteer with the FSB, met Lord Harris and invited him to join a private FSB meeting, where Lord Harris spoke to the business owners on Brexit. Lord Harris was introduced to the concept of the FSB 30.30 event and he was enthusiastic to have the event in all Harris academies. With a very quick turn around the Harris Beckenham event was booked and Chandra kindly recruited the businesses while Jo Mullard, Assistant Principal for Sixth Form at Harris Academy Beckenham, organised the students and the rooms.
With a few opening speeches by the Principal Sam, Chandra and Sara King from the FSB, we were all then treated to a motivational speech by Lord Harris. He spoke about how he struggled with education due to his dyslexia and left school at 15 to take over the family business. He spoke about all of his charity work and his passion for the Harris Federation and how the hope in the future is that 50,000 young people will benefit from a Harris education.
Hannah, a STEM ambassador, then talked about the different opportunities that are available at Biggin Hill Airport and showed a short film on the various opportunities that students could consider in the Aviation industry.
After the speeches, the speed networking event commenced. Students had one minute to talk to each business before the hooter went off and the student moved on to another volunteer. The buzz in the hall was electric. Students developed their self-confidence with every person they spoke to.
The feedback from both businesses and students was incredibly positive. The FSB are keen to off this event to all of the Harris academies.
We would like to express my thanks to everyone who took part. We would also like to thank Chandra and Sarah for ensuring that the inaugural event was a real success.