Junior Achievement and HSBC encourage students to develop their business skills

Friday 10 September 2021

As the new academic year starts Manx charity Junior Achievement is encouraging students to develop their business skills alongside their curricular studies by signing up for the Company Programme.

Delivered by Junior Achievement, the Company Programme is being supported for a further three years by HSBC and is the world’s top entrepreneurial programme for young people in education aimed aged between 15 and 19. With the support of a volunteer business mentor, students are encouraged to set up and run their own business over an academic year.

The Isle of Man is one of more than 40 countries where the Company Programme operates as part of the Junior Achievement network, reaching 250,000 students each year.

The mini-student company runs on the same lines as a normal business with students taking on roles such as managing director, finance manager and company secretary. The challenge is to raise the capital to take a product or service to market.

The aim of the programme is to provide students an understanding of how a business works and how wealth and employment are created. It also helps them to develop a range of soft skills including communication, time management, self-confidence, negotiation and presentation skills.

The JA Company Programme will run from October 2021 to March 2022. At the end of the process, students can enter their business into the competition to win the title ‘Student Company of the Year’. The winning team will travel to Estonia in July 2022 to take part in the European finals.

Winners of the 2021 Junior Achievement Student Company of the Year award was Elevate, a student team from St Ninian’s High School, who produced and packaged paper soap. Available in small handy packets the paper soap makes hand washing on the move both easy and convenient.  All you need to do is add water to the paper and rub it between your hands. It disintegrates leaving no waste.

At the end of the 2021 programme students were invited to offer feedback on their Company Programme experience. 99 per cent of respondents said they would recommend it to other students, 95 per cent felt it had helped to develop their employability skills and 60 per cent said that at some point in their life they would like to become self-employed.

Junior Achievement CEO Sue Cook said: ‘Taking part in the Company Programme is an experience that students will never forget. We recognise that initially it can be hard for students to balance this additional work with their academic studies but the long-term benefits far outweigh the extra demands it imposes on their time. Once again, I’m looking forward to seeing what ideas the students will come up with this year.

HSBC has generously agreed to support the programme for another three years. This means all Year 12 students in every high school have free access to this amazing opportunity.’

Commenting on the continued sponsorship, Chantal Le Goff, Head of Sustainability, HSBC Channel Islands and Isle of Man said:

“The Company programme provides a unique hands-on experience into becoming a future entrepreneur and operating many aspects of business and we’re delighted to continue our community partnership with JA IOM.

Supporting future skills programmes are extremely important to HSBC, especially education and employability skills, which form part of the Bank’s sustainability focus. We very much look forward to seeing what exciting new business ideas young people develop through the programme.”

Junior Achievement Isle of Man is a Manx-registered charity dedicated to helping the Island’s young people gain the essential skills they need when they leave full-time education.

If you would like to learn more about the work of the charity visit www.jaiom.im or email suecook@jaiom.im

Photograph: The winning team from St Ninian’s High School.

Left to right: David Roberts (Volunteer Business Mentor). Members of team Elevate; Hannah Lancaster, Abigail Pontee, Sam Gill, Jadwiga Niski and Claire Clucas. Adam Drummond (JA Ambassador).