The political theatre of ‘Question Time’ came to the Black Country recently, when eighty Year 10 and 11 pupils grilled local business leaders on the subject of employability.
Senior figures from Hadley Group, Jaguar Land Rover, Midcounties Co-Operative and Tata Steel fielded more than twenty searching questions on the type of qualifications needed, training courses, CV writing, career paths and sectors that will create future jobs.
The Business in the Community (BITC) event, which was held at Thorns Community College in Brierley Hill, also provided an insight into some of the softer skills employers were looking for and tackled the topical issues of Apprenticeships versus Degrees.
Pupils from Willenhall E-ACT Academy, ACE Academy, St Michaels and Wednesfield High School were also present to challenge the panel.
“It’s vital that we give young people a real insight into the business world and the type of information they need to know in order to make informed choices on their careers,” explained Dave Hughes, Regional Education at Business in the Community.
“Question Time is a very popular TV programme and pupils can relate to it, so creates an exciting atmosphere within the makeshift studio. It also gives them the platform to ask the questions they actually want answered rather than giving them information we think they need to hear.
“And there was certainly some tough ones posed that tested the debating skills of the business leaders.”
Question Time is part of BITC’s flagship ‘Business Class’ educational programme that encourages secondary schools to work with companies on a long-term, strategic basis.
There are over 200 relationships currently in place across the country, with 35 already established and successfully operating across the Black Country, Birmingham and Coventry and Warwickshire.
Richard Wandless, General Manager of Tata Steel, was on the panel: “We have a very strong partnership with Thorns Community College and are committed to making a positive contribution to the local community. Taking part in Question Time was great fun, but importantly provided pupils with an idea of the different opportunities available to them when they leave school.”
Deane Baker, Head Teacher at Thorns Community College, added his support: “We have to make sure our pupils are ready for work and the more we get them involved with businesses the better. This event also gives them the chance to hone their debating skills, whilst teaching them how to effectively communicate in public.”
For further information on Business in the Community’s Business Class programme visit www.bitc.org.uk