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Gold Award school puts their essential skills to the test at The London Stock Exchange Group

Thirty Year 6 students from Hillborough Junior School in Luton were welcomed to the heart of the City near St Paul's cathedral by Skills Builder partner London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) to put their essential skills to the test in the world of work.

During their visit, students were supported by no fewer than 10 volunteers from a range of departments at LSEG, spanning the Company Secretariat (CoSec), Marketing, Design or Sustainable Finance. Four further volunteers kindly spent their time giving us the grand tour of the fantastic central London premises, including a biodiversity-friendly roof terrace with priceless views of London's iconic skyline including The Shard, St Paul's Cathedral and The London Eye.

The School

Hillborough's approach to education empowers young people to become creative, critical thinkers who "develop the habits and values required for life in an ever-changing world", thanks to their holistic model. This school combines a set of values such as Determination, Teamwork and Self-belief, alongside Bill Lucas’ ‘Five Habits of Mind’ which include Persistence, Imagination and Inquisitiveness. Their approach lends itself perfectly to the Universal Framework for essential skills.

In July 2022, the school achieved a Gold Award on the Skills Builder Accelerator programme for their use of classroom-based projects, whole-school Challenge Days, and employer encounters, continuing to maximise impact on Accelerator+ as they consistently embed the essential skills throughout their curriculum.

Students interviewing volunteers

The Business

London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG), one of the world’s oldest stock exchanges, is a global financial markets infrastructure business.

Through its Foundation, LSEG is generously supporting Skills Builder's international strand. James Prideaux, Global Networks Manager at Skills Builder, said:

Skills Builder Partnership were delighted to be announced as one of LSEG Foundation's strategic partners at the start of the year, helping us to grow our impact globally. Today was a fantastic opportunity to bring the skills to life for the students of Hillborough Junior School and the fantastic volunteers from LSEG.

View from the roof terrace, students pointing to London landmarks
View from the roof terrace

The Challenge: Start-up Success

Business volunteers providing feedback on students' creations

The students kicked the day off by interviewing the LSEG volunteers to find out about their different roles, responsibilities and the essential skills they use every day in their jobs. The 10-11 year olds demonstrated their Speaking and Listening skills by asking questions of a high standard, in a very professional manner and on topics ranging from day-to-day work to more large-scale positive contributions across various teams. The volunteers had also explained that people don’t always need a degree to work at LSEG, and explained some of the different routes they took to get into their roles.

Following the interviews, students set out on a tour of the premises. The tour gave students the chance to explore the great variety of jobs available in the world of finance and the essential skills in practice in the workplace.

'How do you set up your own business?', was the stretch challenge of the day, with students exploring the world of enterprise by setting up their own start-up companies selling souvenirs that would celebrate their local community in Luton.

Creativity skills were put to the test as the budding entrepreneurs made team decisions about which souvenirs to design. They then applied Staying Positive skills alongside Teamwork as it was time to design their souvenir prototypes with limited time and resources.

The challenge culminated with every team showing off their designs and marketing ideas in front of the whole room, in the hope that they could persuade the LSEG volunteers that their start-up was the one to support and invest in.

The adults were clearly impressed by the Speaking skills from Hillborough's teams, especially their use of emotive language "...because on a challenge like this, you cannot possibly do without communication skills!" one student concluded.

Looking back on the challenge, learners also reflected on how they applied their essential skills throughout the day. It was clear they had aimed high and did their school proud!

Liam O'Donnell, Deputy Headteacher and Year 6 teacher, said:

“Being in the heart of the building, engaged the children in a unique way, as did the tour. All staff and volunteers have been ace. They communicated very well with all pupils and the friendly attitude worked. The eager attitude of the staff rubbed off on pupils and thanks to the content pupils understood how skills impact.”

Teams pitching their souvenirs to the business

What they said

Organisation from initial contact to the actual visit to the conclusion of the event was superb. Attention to detail was profound. Tasks were thoroughly engaging – pupils were enthralled and motivated.
Thank you for making the day so special, particularly for pupils who rarely have the opportunity to travel beyond their immediate locale.

- Jack Stevens, PE teacher

We didn’t have this when I was at school.

- Steven, volunteer teacher at Hillborough

Students were confident speaking to adults. I wouldn’t have been able to do this at their age!

- Volunteer, LSEG

The structure was really good. And the timing, too – they just kept going in the short time they had!

- Volunteer, LSEG

What struck me was that they really wanted to do this!

- Volunteer, LSEG

I've learnt how people use their Leadership skills to manage different people and it's not just finance stuff happening here at LSEG.

- Year 6 student, Hillborough Junior School

To find out more about Hillborough Junior School, or to join us...

Read Hillborough Junior School's Case Study here to learn how they secured a Gold Award with Skills Builder.

And if you, like Hillborough, would like to join a movement of educators implementing a strategy to embed essential skills, you can apply for a place on the Accelerator programme.

Would your learners enjoy building skills on a challenge day?

Take your learners on a journey of essential skills development through practical and engaging teaching like challenge days. Explore the possibilities on the funded Global Accelerator programme for educators worldwide – apply now.