Our Centre for Business, Arts and Technology is working closely with local businesses and has found success in a partnership with Arsenal in the Community (AitC). Based at the Emirates football stadium, AitC provides young people with opportunities in sport and education. This month, our Level 2 Business students presented their best entrepreneurial ideas to Arsenal staff Jack Ferguson and Freddie Hudson on an away day at the famous stadium. The panellists were also joined by City and Islington’s Interim Vice Principal Tracy Stuart and Head of School for Enterprise Jo Cairns.
Jack told us: “Arsenal in the Community has a longstanding relationship with City and Islington College, particularly with Business students and supporting students on sports programmes. In the last two years, we’ve built a relationship with Business teachers who set students coursework based around real existing problems faced by the club. Students have six months to come up with a solution to that problem and present in front of us.
“What we’ve seen today is 80 students, 14 presentations, delivering their response with a new product or service that Arsenal could look to use in the future. We’ve sat here today and listened to 14 very different presentations, all very varied ideas, full of things that are actually quite viable – things that we could actually see being used in and around the stadium.
“It’s been a great day for Arsenal listening to these presentations and learning something from the marketers of the future.”
Students presented a range of ideas from Diamond Club ice-cream and Arsenal-branded gaming chairs to half-time delivery services and all-season refreshments.
At the end of the presentations, Tracy Stuart acknowledged the improvement made by students in the last six months, adding: “We’ve seen some stunning ideas, great presentations, clear evidence that they have worked so hard on this. We believe that the work that we do and that they do is game changing.”
Head of School for Business at the centre, Yvonne Layne, added that “these are students whose GCSE years were disrupted for one reason or another. For many of them, this will have an effect on their confidence. It’s a really big deal for us to put them on stage, let alone in a stadium of this size, in front of people they have never met and ask them to have faith in their ideas.
“In terms of the work that has been done and the progress made leading up to this day, I think everyone needs to be commended.
“City and Islington College is determined to prepare people for the world of work. Whether students take the classic academic route through to university or prefer the vocational pathway, soft skills are key to success in the competitive workplace.
“We want students to show a natural progression within their development, not limiting them to a few niche skills but creating rounded human beings who know how to talk to people and present their ideas properly. So that’s where the idea came from to work more closely with local employers.
“We’re offering students more work opportunities, and as a result, attendance has risen, students are more engaged in their classes, and they don’t feel like the work is being done in isolation. Group work seems to be a big motivator in building the confidence to stay on, especially for our Level 2 students.”
Students seemed pleased with the outcome of the away day, taking much from sharing their ideas in a new, constructive environment. Teachers Lee Kennedy, Anne Farrell, Prem Waatess and Godwin Adeji were vocally proud of the development made by students over the last six months, expressing plans to expand the project through new courses and partnerships, likely to be realised ahead of the new academic year in September.