We’ve done YES for many years. It started as an extracurricular programme, but we found students were looking for a subject that was new, different and challenging. Students wanted to run their own course and be in control of what was happening. YES fits all of those requirements.
What has influenced you to run YES among the special needs students?
I have always maintained that YES can suit any level of student – you don’t have to be Einstein to run a business. These students were looking for subjects to integrate into the school. YES was a perfect one as students can work in a team, it is less regimented - they aren’t just sitting in a desk and talking, they can work as a team and also can be very successful.
Can you please describe the team that you’ve got working on YES this year?
They’re called the Pot Plant Pixies, a team of four students. They vary in ability, one student can read and three students who can’t read but are perfectly capable of putting their succulents into pot plants. They learn to integrate into the lessons with the other students, they learn to work alongside the students in other teams, and they come to all of the events as well.
What are the successes that these students have had through doing YES?
I asked one student the same question and she said “When we’re selling, people were talk to us” – and that’s really important to them. It lowers a barrier. They attended the trade fair in New Plymouth and they dressed up in fairy skirts and wings and they get lots of customers because they’re out there and they don’t have the same sort of social restraints as normal teenagers.
They do understand money, and they really like to make money. They have their own bank account, and they really enjoy going down with the teacher and banking their money at ASB. They know that they’re money is increasing and they are looking forward to going out for lunch with the Horticulture ladies, and their teacher aids, and me at the end of the year – that’s how they’ve decided to spend their profit. The rest of the money will go towards next years team as well.
Is there anything else youd like to add? How YES might help them when they finish school?
We thought that they were the kind of students that may need to run a craft business in the future – we need to give them some skills because they won’t be employed in their lives with help of course. In fact these skills are really necessary for them. Maybe as part of a craft cooperative when they leave school. We’re giving them some skills for that.
I want to thank the Young Enterprise Trust for all of the hard work that they do, I think that it is fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. We really appreciate, we have 30 students go through here a year and they get so much out of it.