Business insights at Easter Bush
The Easter Bush Campus welcomed 11 school pupils from Midlothian secondary schools for a week-long work experience programme.
The Business Insights programme is thought to be the first of its kind in Scotland, offering an integrated and holistic approach for local secondary school pupils to learn about the world of business.
Pupils from Dalkeith High School, St David's Roman Catholic High School, Lasswade High School, Beeslack High School, Penicuik High School and Newbattle Community High School were invited to apply for places on the programme, with eleven being given the opportunity to spend a week at the Campus.
Working with the local community
The Easter Bush Campus is committed to providing opportunities for young people. It was awarded the Investors in Young People Silver Award in 2016, becoming the first university body in Scotland to receive this Investors in Young People accreditation at silver level. The Business Insights programme is another way in which the Campus is reaching out and engaging with the local community.
Discovering the business world
The programme was designed to introduce high school pupils to the wide range of roles that are available to support a large organisation, such as The University of Edinburgh. It seeks to provide first-hand experience of working in a real business environment, with the young people learning directly from those who are doing the jobs.
Across the week, sessions were offered by many of the functional areas on the Campus, including Finance, Marketing and Communications, Health and Safety, Human Resources, IT, and Facilities. The pupils were also taken on tours of the many buildings on Campus, so they could directly link their learning to actual business environments.
The week was organised and run by Campus HR Manager, Cat Eastwood, and Marketing Communications Officer, Tom Mortimer, who were on hand at all times to mentor the pupils. Both also presented as part of the programme and offered in-depth insight into their business area.
The pupils were also given the chance to tour one of the buildings currently under construction on the Campus, visiting the Campus Hub and Roslin Innovation Centre, with representatives from the Facilities team and McLaughlin and Harvey, who are constructing the new building.
Widening the experience
As well as the presentations, there were sessions on team building, with tasks designed to promote critical thinking, while also having fun. The pupils carried out team tasks, which included building platforms and learning actual clinical skills in the Dick Vet’s clinical skills laboratory. There were also sessions to teach core development skills, such as writing personal statements, to assist the pupils when applying for future study or training opportunities.
The final day of the programme focussed on presenting future opportunities for study and development. The pupils received talks from The University of Edinburgh’s Widening Participation team about applying to university, from Edinburgh Colleges to discuss current and future College opportunities and from representatives of Skills Development Scotland, to talk about Modern Apprenticeships.
To show what they had learned, the pupils were given time to prepare a presentation in groups. They made their presentation to the staff who had mentored them through the week and each then received a certificate to recognise their successful completion of the programme.
The Easter Bush Campus offers a range of community outreach, including a Science Insights programme and visits to and from schools. It also participates in events, such as Midlothian Science Festival, opening its doors to the local community, to give them the chance to visit the campus and see inside many of the buildings.