Apply classroom learning to the real world of business


While the excitement of the popular business reality show, shark tank hits Maltese TV screens and sets out to discover the next ‘big thing’ in Malta, students from Verdala International School (VIS) have been involved in their own version through the Junior Achievement Young Enterprise (JAYE) project . Although he is not as ruthless as shark tankit’s also about pitching a potential business model and product to a panel that annually awards prizes that inspire these promising student entrepreneurs to experience the pressure of planning and pitching.

JAYE has been heating up over the past few months as students from across the country and across Europe take part in this annual event. VIS has been involved in this Sixth Form project for many years now, with previous wins including the Best Company program and Best Leadership representation.

Our business students have always appreciated the opportunity to apply what they learn in the classroom to the real world, innovatively coming up with proposals such as converting fishing nets into bags, carbon negative wallets into cork and smart drink lids that keep drinks from soaring. ; in particular the JAYE criteria encourage young people to integrate an ethical purpose into their products.

The post-16 study is an important milestone for young people. In many countries, only a small percentage continue their studies. Governments can offer incentives to entice students to stay, as for some the lure of winning is much more fun than continuing at an academic institution. With no apprenticeship programs available, students who are less academically oriented may simply suffer in the later years of school.

While schools may push back national standards until age 16, beyond that young people crave independent thought and take ownership of their own journey. And it’s obvious to those who fail or struggle that we can lock them in too much. Post-16 role models must allow for this independent thinking and give young people more opportunities to choose and perhaps specialize in their kinesthetic or verbal strengths.

In many cases post-16 colleges have tried to provide this through a range of courses, but in some cases this option is too disconnected and piecemeal. On the other hand, schools can offer something that colleges do not always have, that is to say the ongoing care of the well-being of the young person, which he may still need, depending on his development. Making choices and learning to learn continues past 16 even though the student thinks they are ready for the big world because they are fed up with authority.

At VIS, we have redesigned our post-16 options and taken an alternative route by offering the career-related International Baccalaureate (IB) programme. This personalized professional program has a 21st century approach, with only a few academic subjects and, in the case of VIS, an intensive BTech Business program. It offers something the IB Diploma has yet to tap into – the personal and professional growth skills needed in an ever-changing world.

Our current cohort of startups have proven themselves to be dynamic thinkers who come to school challenged with discussion, debate and problem solving. Learning how to present and use social media, research and prepare reports are essential skills in an increasingly complex job market.

Each student is assessed through a reflective project focusing on an ethical dilemma of their choice. Our students are currently asking questions such as: “Is smart farming a solution?” », « Are microtransactions in iGaming ethical? and “Should companies invest in a country that has committed human rights abuses?” »

As we prepare our students for a rapidly changing world, being able to recognize right from wrong and the ethical challenges around a business model will only make them more competent and hopefully principled entrepreneurs. . JAYE has tied ethics perfectly into their challenge, as they are evaluated on their business sustainability, eco-friendly approach, technology and digitization, scalability, presentation and soft skills.

Being able to recognize right from wrong and the ethical challenges around a business model will only make them more competent and hopefully principled entrepreneurs.

shark tank It may be the next big business idea, but JAYE encourages bolder ambitions by inspiring young people to find the synergy between a profitable concept and the responsibility we should all have to feed the world in which we live. live.

Totty Aris is Principal of Verdala International School.

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