“How hard can it be...” I thought to myself as I waited in the car park of St. Malachys ahead of my first meeting with the Year13 pupils who I would soon be mentoring as part of the Young Enterprise Company Challenge program......
...After all I had spent 18years as a manager and Director, working in some of the the toughest environments around, from Shipbuilding in Harland & Wolff, the Offshore oil and Gas industry with Crane Valve, factories in the USA with McMullen Architectural and traveling the world on marine outfitting projects for MJM Marine. And besides, “School pupils are so conscientious and pleasant nowadays aren’t they?
I was instantly put at ease when I met Ms McKinney, whose enthusiasm for the programme was instantly infectious. Even the near miss of a plastic water bottle being hurled from a 2nd floor window and landing close beside us was dismissed in my mind as,
“Some science loving pupil, demonstrating Newtons Law of Gravity, no doubt”
So before I knew it, I was standing in front of 30 or so pupils whose reactions seemed to range from mildly interested to even less than mildly interested, but that was soon to change as Ms McKinney brought them to order and a respectful hush fell upon the class.
I was introduced to rapturous applause, which was very pleasant, though did make me wonder if I was going to disappoint anyone, by not actually having met Lord Sugar, travelling private jet or owning a yacht in Monaco, (Though I have worked onboard many!).
No need to have worried, though as most seemed happy with the tales of my career to date interspaced with the plenty of anecdotes and the odd slip of the tongue back into...Errm, “Shipyard language”
Note to self - “Brush up on, how to say cool stuff without resorting to profanity!”
Next up on the agenda was a little of the procedural stuff, explained expertly by Ms McKinney, then the splitting of the class into two groups who whilst still remaining friends and classmates where now to become serious business rivals. So whilst my blog will give as much of the experience I can print, the groups product ideas are strictly off limits until ready to launch, so if word gets out, ”...you didn’t hear it from me!”
Whilst I charted the skill set of my first group, Ms McKinney got to work on the others and I proceeded to explain the key roles of the directors in the company and encouraged them to not all want to be the MD; as it’s not the glamour gig it’s made out to be...believe me I know!
Ms McK and I swapped round and as I joined in, the other class seemed to be halfway to completing their business idea and just need to put the finishing touches on their Public Flotation press release to the London Stock exchange... so I wound them back a little to make sure they got thinking about the structure of the business first, but it was a great start and the home bell cut me off just as I was really getting into it, but one more,
Note to Self - “Never stand between the classroom door and a group of year13’s who can cover the ground from their desk quicker than Usein Bolt”
Roll on Week 2, hopefully the St. Malachys guys are looking forward to it as much as me!