Supporting tomorrow’s finance professionals
Young Enterprise Scotland (YES) is a charity that operates in schools with a number of programmes. Their Company Programme - which is one that ICAS supports - is aimed at 5th and 6th year pupils to encourage them to learn about enterprise and business.
Charlotte Barbour reports on her experience with YES and encourages others to participate.
Young Enterprise Scotland is a registered charity which supports around 15,000 young people from all backgrounds every year. The purpose of the charity is to develop young people’s business knowledge, entrepreneurial skills and ultimately become more employable.
A YES company will be set up for the academic year. The students form the company and are empowered to make all decisions from company name, to choice of product and management of the finances.
Students have their own roles, and they have to decide how the appointments are to be made, ensuring that the company has a CEO, Marketing Director, Financial Director and so on, and those who will work in the company – and of course learning experiences for many include deciding (agreeing?) how decisions are made and the chaos that come about if someone doesn’t keep on top of the finances. There’s a surprising amount to learn and often a surprising amount of working together needed too.
Each young enterprise company will have a business adviser and a supporting teacher. For instance, when I worked in industry, I was encouraged to undertake some CSR, which in my case was with young enterprise as an adviser – I ended up working with two different schools. It was a hugely awarding experience and I always found that there was a lot for the adviser to learn as well!
At the end of the academic year, the companies compete on a local, regional, national and European level to be crowned Company of the Year. The companies can compete for other awards too, and ICAS sponsors the finance director of the year in the Scottish finals.
I’m still involved in young enterprise as a judge in the ‘FD of the year’ award. It’s a privilege to see the finalists in the YES Scottish finals – with some great products (this year I’ve been much taken with a card game, with ‘Harris the Haggis goes to Edinburgh’ story book, some fabulous wood products and some innovative services).
I’m also intrigued by the learning experiences of the finance directors, as these can range from the expected, such as the need to keep on top of the finances and stock (especially in some of the companies where turnover reaches into four figures), to the personal skills and how many note that it has added to their confidence. And for some, the experience confirms that they want to study accountancy or business, for others they find it has been unexpectedly interesting.
It’s a great charity in which to be involved. Should you want to know more, contact Young Enterprise Scotland.