Adrian Maguire, 18, graduated from the Career Academy programme last year. Here, he tells Smarta why enterprise education worked for him and why we should watch out for the next generation of business big shots.
Last week more than 480 young business leaders and entrepreneurs of the future, from schools and colleges around the UK, graduated the Career Academy programme, at a ceremony in London. Having graduated last year – and now a seasoned alumnus - I was asked to be one of the emcees for the event.
If the prospect of standing up in front of 480 students and their parents and teachers wasn’t scary enough, I also had BBC journalist Evan Davis and former Citigroup chairman and chair of Career Academies UK Sir Win Bischoff in the audience.
Fortunately I was armed with a script and things went smoothly, if very quickly. The highlight was getting to meet Evan Davis who gave us all words of encouragement as we face trying to get on and be successful in a recession.
The event was a welcome break from exam preparation as I am currently just completing my first year of a Business Studies degree at Sheffield Hallam University. Even though I knew I wanted to go to university before I started my business course in sixth form, there is no doubt that the programme has put me one step ahead of my peers.
As well as studying ‘A’ levels in business and finance, the course gave me the chance to meet regularly with my personal business mentor James from the accounting department at Astra Zeneca. The best bit was a six-week paid internship with Sodexho.
If I wasn’t sure about what I would do after I left university, the internship helped massively. It gave me the confidence to see that I could work in finance and even one day start my own business.
A lot of the things that have been taught at university, I already know from my course. I know I'm lucky; most of my fellow students haven’t had the opportunity to get hands-on business experience like me. I would definitely recommend it to other students. The business world should watch this space.
Image: (L-R) Valerie Bakare, Evan Davis, Sir Win Bischoff, Henrietta Royle and Adrian Maguire Credit: Mark Fletcher