Which college? Which sixth form? These are popular discussion points amongst the Key Stage 4 population at any high school. Yet not all students are interested in academia after school, nor do they want to pursue an education in subjects deemed to be academic. So, what options are out there for this group?
Students are now accustomed to regular meetings with colleges and higher education providers. Following on from this, Madni Academy hosted its first Business Convention on Tuesday 20th March for Key Stage 4 students to explore alternative opportunities that were available for them post 16.
During the convention, students met and absorbed advice from local business women running their own successful businesses. The ladies explained how they set up their businesses, from the initial ideas, the obstacles they faced at the outset, and how they went about establishing their businesses from the concept stage to a profit making venture in its own right.
The entrepreneurs spoke passionately about their businesses, demonstrating that it is possible to harness your own interests and work towards building a viable business on the back of your dreams. The recurrent theme amongst the group seemed to be how much they now enjoyed what they were doing, and how life doesn’t always have to be about a 9-5 job which is sometimes unfulfilling in the extreme. A year 11 student who found the event inspiring commented, “…I’ve always wondered what I could do after my GCSEs. These ladies have helped me realise that following your dreams is possible and help is out there if you are willing to work hard enough. I already have an idea for a business start-up that I’d like to take further, moreover meeting these ladies has made me realise that it is possible for ordinary people like me to take their interests and make something tangible from them.”
The clear message from the entrepreneurs was how fulfilled they felt at this stage in their lives, and how much more in control they felt over their own working day. Despite this, the students appreciated their honesty; not to paint too rosy a picture, the ladies spoke frankly about their own uncertainties and difficulties, especially during the early years of their business.
Amongst the esteemed speakers were a lawyer and a qualified teacher. Both had turned their backs on the professions they had studied towards to go into business from themselves, and from the obvious passion in their voices, for them, it was the best decision of their lives. Salema Apa would like to extend her appreciation to all the ladies for their time and efforts, and for sharing their first hand experiences from within the business world.