Pupils use Northgate business simulations to get 'work ready'

An exciting and engaging experiential learning resource is being used by teachers to get pupils ‘work ready’. Schools are promoting the employability of their pupils by using Northgate business simulations, where pupils learn about understanding profit and loss, making business decisions, and working as a team all within a risk-free environment.

The pressure on schools, teachers and careers departments to equip pupils with well-developed soft skills and commercial acumen is increasing, as employers are becoming more demanding and the job market ever more competitive. This is where Northgate business simulations are of use.

Pupils in Ysgol Bro Pedr, Lampeter enjoyed competing to run the most profitable business. Using a simulated pizza take away called Going for Profit!, they were able to test their business acumen, experience developing a business and practise teamwork skills. The children had to make important business decisions such as quality of the ingredients, pricing of products, staff wages and advertising, as well as creating a marketing campaign, to promote their business. Due to the interactivity of the computer programme, they could see the impact their decisions had on the profit or loss of the business. Student feedback included: “I think that this was a very good experience, with lots of skills you can transfer into real-life experiences.”

Pupils from Greenhill School, Tenby took part in The Wine Bar Game. Teams were tasked to start up a fictitious wine bar in a European City. Critical business decisions had to be taken by the teams, and the results were translated into a profit and loss for the enterprise. Teachers agreed that the business simulation offered the students a ‘real life’ business experience, gave them an opportunity to demonstrate business acumen and illustrated the value of teamwork. Student feedback included: “I thought that this session was very interesting by making me realise how many departments are involved in a business and how hard it is to make everything run smoothly. Very useful and a brilliant insight into entrepreneurship.”

(Case studies provided by BaseWales, a specialist schools experiential learning company.)

To run a business simulation, which typically last three-to-four hours, teachers can either run it themselves, or the Northgate team can provide a facilitator to run it for them. Pupils can practise skills such as assertiveness, reaching consensus, handling conflict and learning to compromise, and the competition aspect between teams adds an element of fun and excitement which students really enjoy. In addition students come away with an insight into the commercial world, better prepared for interview questions about business skills and the world of work.