STEM Enterprise Day

Year 10 students from Tavistock College took part in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) enterprise day last Tuesday.

Students formed small property companies which were asked to tender to purchase a prime site on which to build a new development on the outskirts of town. Students worked in groups containing a mixture of skills, allowing them to take on real world roles such as being a marketing director, architect, finance manager and project manager. The success of the teams depended on the appropriate allocation of jobs and sharing of their skill sets.

The students had a strict two and a quarter hour deadline to complete all their tasks on the property development challenge. This included a scale plan of the site, internal architect’s designs, newspaper advert, marketing ideas, tender letter and a series of finance calculations. Students were working under real time pressures and with people they wouldn’t normally work with as a result of the mixed nature of the groups. Another unique aspect of this challenge was the support provided by industry experts. Representatives from Cavanna Homes, The Met Office and the construction industry were all on hand to stimulate thoughts and question students on these real world tasks. Alongside this expert assistance, a group of Tavistock College 6th Form students helped to mentor some of the students.

At the end of the Challenge the 5 teams in each room had to present their work to the industry judges and peers with the winning team from each room going forward to the afternoon’s grand final. Not only did this day build on subject knowledge of Eco homes from Geography, marketing strategies from Business and technical drawing from Graphics, but more importantly it exposed students to a real life challenge. As a result teamwork, communication, time management and leadership skills were all developed – all skills and attributes that are vital to our 21st century learners as we prepare them for a workplace in the real world.

The College would like to thank Ralph James, Lynda Jones, Katie Russell and Chris Richards from the Met Office in Exeter, Martin Cavanna from Cavanna Homes, Gary Nichols from Optimise4 and independent consultant, Nigel Halford, for their support of this event, granting their time and expertise to all of the students involved.

Principal of Tavistock College, Helen Salmon, commented:
‘We were delighted to be working with a range of business partners for this important event. They gave generously of their time to help our young people to develop vital skills such as teamwork, planning, independent research and presentation skills.’