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Celebrating International Youth Day 2022

Category: AirTanker Released: 12 August 2022

Today, 12 August 2022, we're celebrating International Youth Day, a day which highlights the qualities of young people and recognises the challenges that they face.

We spoke with Chris Shepherd, Operations Quality and Safety Assurance Officer, who recently helped bring to life a Year Nine school project at Littleover Community School. The project involved working with the school’s English department who were running a Dragons’ Den-style project to make links between English skills and the world of work. Chris and two other professionals, a Project Manager and a Graphic Designer, had the class pitch their business cases, with the hope of selling shares of their 'company'. 

Take a look at our interview with Chris...

How and why did you get involved with this?

"I was a former student at the school and my job role is very different from the other two 'Dragons' involved, so we had very different professional views. I felt my business experience would help the students throughout this process, but also help me from a communication perspective, particularly enhancing my communication skills with those younger than me."

What impressed you the most?

"Their creativity was outstanding, and really impressive! The way they identified the changes required from the business plan they developed, to actually making it into a full presentation and pitch was really admirable. Also, their confidence to present in front of three adult professionals who they had never met before was really very impressive!"

What was the most ‘interesting’ business idea?

“Well, this one blew my mind! A group of students had the idea of a mirror that gives make-up tips while the user is looking into it and suggests what make-up to wear to suit their face. They then went on to state it had the ability to call friends whilst using the mirror, to compare and receive tips from friends. This was a really innovative idea, but I feel it would have been better for me if it could sort my hair out every morning!"

What type of Dragon would you say you are?

“Each of the Dragons had a discussion prior to the event, talking about what type of viewpoint we'd have - to allow for more diversity with our opinions. I was the 'future' and 'environmental' Dragon and was looking at products with the environment and sustainability in mind. The other two Dragons took a more ‘practical’ and ‘global reach’ approach."

How and why did you get involved with this?

"I was contacted through LinkedIn actually and felt it was a great opportunity to help my former school and really get involved in something different from my day-to-day. I would absolutely encourage everyone to do something to improve their local community if the opportunity arises, either through youth work or helping out the more vulnerable, as it's truly a rewarding experience and there's a lot that can be learnt from our younger generation."

What have you taken away?

"A challenge was having to adjust to speaking to younger people and therefore, from being involved with this experience, I feel my communication with the youth has definitely improved."

Chris is eager to return to the school next year, as he really enjoyed the experience! Take a look below at what Dominic Buchanan, Curriculum Co-ordinator of English at Littleover Community School, had to say:

Following Chris’s involvement, English teachers and I spoke to the young people involved who said that Chris, and the other Dragons, helped them to see the connection between skills developed in classrooms with the world of work. They felt his feedback was incredibly useful in helping them to develop their ideas, and they enjoyed the challenge of his questions and expertise as a Dragon during the main event in the Hall.

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