Leeds West Academy students take over our head office for a full day to re-imagine how we run our careers events

takeover day 2

Last Friday, students from Leeds West Academy were invited to Ahead Partnership’s head offices to take over our creative department for a day. As part of Take Over Day, we welcomed five year 13 students, who were given a brief to re-imagine how we run our careers events. The day, and their brief, had been specially designed to empower them to take the driver’s seat by making decisions that could impact them and their peers.

The event was also designed to give the students a glimpse into creativity and innovation in the world of work. Students took part in idea generation, research, and benchmarking activities that mirror Ahead Partnership’s own creative development process. Students generated some fantastic ideas and insights throughout this process: from the out-of-the-box (business volunteers bringing dogs in world-of-work-themed costume) to the pragmatic (strategies for helping shy or introverted young people get the most from their careers event experience). These students really helped us see our events from a different perspective, giving us a lot of food for thought that will no doubt impact how we deliver careers events in future.

After an informal networking session, where students met the wider Ahead Partnership team, the afternoon was spent working in groups to develop their favourite ideas using industry-standard design software. At the end of our Take Over Day, students presented their ideas to Ahead staff from a range of different departments, who were really receptive to their insights and suggestions. Students presented on two ideas: the first, a design for resources that fit inside a standard lanyard card holder, which students wear throughout the event and use to navigate, interact with employers, collect careers information, and receive collectible stickers that can be displayed as a visual reminder of who they met. The second idea involved a “passport” style booklet intended for younger students, which would incentivise them to interact meaningfully with each stall at their careers event. Their “passport” was designed to encourage two-way conversation between students and employers, with employers urged to pose questions to students as well as vice-versa.

Everyone involved benefitted from having students take charge over innovating and re-imagining our work. Tom, one of our Project Managers, has said it was “a delight to hear ideas that will help shape the future of our Products” and noted that “Students were a credit to the school and presented with confidence and charm.” We’d encourage anyone who feels their business or organisation could benefit from a young person’s perspective to get involved with the #TakeoverChallenge.

Take Over Day takes place every November, giving businesses and organisations across the country a chance to be part of the #TakeoverChallenge. Ahead Partnership are proud to support this fantastic initiative, which puts young people at the heart of decision-making in the world of work. You can find out more about this project by visiting the Children’s Commissioner Website. If you’re local to Leeds, you can also get information and support from Child Friendly Leeds, who are fantastic ambassadors for putting young people’s priorities at the heart of decision-making.

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