Lifelong leadership learning in Cumbria


Phoenix Youth Group- Business in Your Hand.

“I really enjoyed learning new skills, I feel more confident. I have also enjoyed getting to know the delivery team, they have made youth club really enjoyable”.

This quote came from one of the participants in the six-week Business in Your Hand programme delivered by The Centre for Leadership Performance and funded by Sellafield Ltd . This programme took place between September and October 2020 at the Phoenix Youth Project in Cleator Moor.

The sessions were built around the idea of being able to start a business using the device the majority of people have in their hands most of the time – a mobile phone. As well as a great way of keeping in touch and sharing videos and pictures, today’s mobile phone is superbly effective as a portable office.

The six weekly sessions allowed the young people to build their skills in the practical elements of business development as well as improving their reflective skills and confidence. The group explored which Apps to use, how to set up accounts, how to make the most of anything they are planning to sell, hints and tips on photography and descriptions, how to buy stock to sell and setting up a PayPal account.

Alongside the weekly challenges and classes, the participants were able to measure their skills and competencies against the 7 Skills for the Future, created by Dr Tony Wagner in his Global Achievement Gap book. The participants each used a personal reflection sheet and were asked to score themselves on a grid with the seven skills outlined and select the top three skills they feel they have improved, scoring their perceived improvements from 1 to 10.

The young people participating in the Business In Your Hand programme increased their skills from a selection of seven across these findings an average of 4.43 points. Equipped with this knowledge, it is hoped that the project at the Phoenix Youth Centre will have a lasting effect on the lives of the young people that the project worked with.

The programme also worked in collaboration with other local business including Lee Grears from Responsive Ltd and Adam Ross from AS Design who shared their career journeys with the group. BEP also sponsored the end of programme celebration – which included a Pizza Night. BEP also provided £100 seed funding to challenge the group to use the skills learnt during the programme to set up their own mini business.

Paul Rowe, Project Manager from The Phoenix Youth Project provided us with an update from their mini business challenge.

“They discussed opportunities and ideas of what they could do/set up in terms of a business idea. They were supportive of each other’s ideas, commenting on whether they thought ideas would work, if products would sell or be viable.

One of the young people took on the role as business manager and got things moving! His initiative and entrepreneurialism were fantastic. He took the lead and made decisions, which was exactly what the group needed. The decision was made to make Christmas sweets to sell to the young people in the youth centre and also to the public via Social Media. The business manager decided that we should make Santa sweet cones, Candy Cane Reindeers, Candy cane and chocolate sleighs and Candy Cane love hearts. The young people got some ideas of prices for the items that were required from researching online, this enabled them to decide on the prices to sell the sweets for.”

Due to the November lockdown they had a very small timescale of approximately 2 weeks to buy, produce and sell the products. Even with the short time scale they managed to sell everything that was made and made a small profit!

Programme Feedback

“I have learned about myself and improved my communication and this has helped me with college”.

“They [the delivery team] made the sessions very fun. They have helped me realise that I am more creative than I thought”.

“Learned: Never give up; follow your dreams”

“Takeaways: Leadership Skills; Communication Skills and Creativity Skills”.

Sarah Glass, Executive Director at CfLP reflects on the programme

“It is really important that we also work with young people in other youth settings, not just within a school environment. The young people we met at the Phoenix youth group were a great group of individuals who we got to know well over the 6 week programme. Myself and Bernie who delivered the programme got to see first hand the confidence and skills they developed as they showcased hidden talents and worked as a team. We were also able to build on the great work Paul and the team do at the youth club through the Phoenix Role Models and provide other opportunities for the group to meet inspiring local entrepreneurs and role models from the world of business who could share their career journeys and support them with their project ideas. “

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Lifelong Leadership Learning in Cumbria