Maurice Belz introduced The Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme at Karamu High School in 2014, after attending the It’s Business Time conference that we held in December 2013.
What made you decide to get involved with the YES programme?
I had been thinking about doing YES, – I had been teaching Year 12 Business Studies as a theory programme in 2013. For 2014 I had been looking to do a similar theory programme for Year 13 students. What changed things was the YES Conference held at the end of 2013. My Head of Faculty Hannah Glenny suggested I attend. I attended the conference with the intention of finding out how I could do an integrated programme where the students could not only do YES, but receive Achievement Standards for the work they did. At the conference, the programme looked really enjoyable for students. However, as a teacher I needed to know what the mechanics of teaching such a programme would involve if I were to integrate Achievement Standards. At the conference I attended sessions where teachers who were involved with teaching the YES programme described what they taught, how they taught it, and equally important, when they taught and how they assessed it.
The teaching programmes described at the conference, together with the motivation provided by the entrepreneurs who described their journeys from “start up” to where they are now, gave me the confidence to go back to Hannah and say that I thought we could develop an integrated programme for our Year 12 and Year 13 students.
What are the benefits of YES for your students?
I received this email from a student last week who was a Year 13 student last year.
“Hi Mr Belz, I just wanted to write to let you know how prepared I feel and am for the commerce papers I have begun this year because of you! Business studies was such a broad overview of everything I am learning here and I just wanted to say it’s a breeze because of your great teaching! So keep it up for the future years, because for me this degree is looking less daunting because I already know all about what I’m being taught! The externals in level 2 and 3 were especially helpful, along with a broad overview of economics, the business plan and marketing plan (I’m doing one exactly the same now).”
I think the YES programme really helps students understand what is involved in business and sets them up either for tertiary Business Studies or for the workplace. This due to getting students to work in teams, work with people, hold meetings (where commitments are made) and then follow through on those commitments. Students can be creative, plan then execute. The different roles in the teams appeal to different people. My design students love the marketing and packaging aspects while my numbers students obviously take on the accounting roles.
How does YES differ from other classroom subjects?
YES involves taking an idea or concept, developing that idea to where it is pitched to “investors”, then executing that idea. In some ways it can be compared to some of the creative subjects where an idea is developed into something tactile. Where the YES programme differs is that to execute your idea to a point where it is taken to the market, you have to do it as a group, learning to work WITH people and rely on the skills they bring, just like the real world. The YES aspects of the programme are team driven. With an integrated programme, the assessment is a mixture of both team and individual.