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Case Studies

Plymstock School – Our Way

By 3rd January 2014 No Comments

Using social enterprise to enhance the study of foreign languages


Plymstock School, Plymouth




Cornish Crisp Company, Sarah Drew, Bloomberry Juice, Traditional Surf Company, Blue Horyzon, International Trade Digest Magazine, The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, B-NEW, Plymouth City Council, Deputy Lord Mayor of Brest, Cornwall Council, Bureau Information Jeunesse, High School Lycee Le Kreisker, Brittany Ferries, Julie Nuyts, Manager International Mission Exchanges and Cooperation, Social Enterprise Focus and Real Ideas Organisation

The challenge:

Year 10 students from Plymstock School were challenged with raising the profile and desirability of studying languages in the school and generate investment whilst engaging with the local community. We worked with a group of Year 10 students to find a social enterprise solution.

The RIO solution:The Year 10 students wanted to identify businesses based in the South West with a shared vision – to be ethical, local and traceable, build relationships with them and promote their products in France. Their brilliant solution was Our Way, a social enterprise that takes businesses in the South West, raises their profile in the UK and introduces their products or services to the international market place. This would promote and support local businesses, using the students’ French language skills to introduce the companies’ products to the French market – thus combining foreign languages and enterprise.

The first year concentrated on our French cousins and their market place. It was of paramount importance to the Our Way crew that their social enterprise had a ‘trickle down’ effect on the South West’s economy. International trade in goods and services are a key aspect of the Our Way vision. Through research they identified that for the year ending June 2012, the South West saw the smallest total value of exports in the UK. They realised that international trade had a huge impact on our economy, and with faster and cheaper transport of goods and changing technologies, it has become easier than ever before to do good business and turn ‘local’ businesses into international ones! They are also very proud of their region, and of the products and services that our small businesses produce.

  • 1 trip to Brest in France in July 2013 which featured…
  • 1 school, 2 countries, 3 days, 4 staff, 5 companies, 6 meetings, 7 potential partners, 8 hour days, 9 students, 200 miles!
  • several meetings with Brest associates to share the Our Way vision and build strong business partnerships

Maggie Dabska, Our Way

“Working with both Plymstock School and RIO has made me realise my potential and it’s made me seriously think about my career options too!”

Lauren Peel, Our Way

“To have the opportunity to make a real difference, to use the language that we learned in our classroom in a real situation and to be able to help real businesses in the South West was amazing! I didn’t think it possible that we could schedule meetings with so many important people; it is something I will never forget. To be able to communicate in their language made me really proud.”

Alex Yates, Our Way

“Over the past year I have really enjoyed the experience of Our Way. It has meant that I, and I’m sure the rest of the team, have grown in confidence and my career aspirations are even more clear to me. With the help of RIO we have been able to experience the realities of business and experienced so many things most 15 year olds would never dream of experiencing and has given us a real life insight into what our futures could potentially hold. The Our Way project has made me realise my potential.”

Lesley Batchelor, The Institute of Export Director General

“The creativity and business savvy of the students has set me wondering how powerful it would be if small companies across the UK sought out opportunities in towns across the world which are twinned with the places they live.”

Sarah Jones, Bloomberry Juice

“We have been so impressed with the professionalism and enthusiasm of the Our Way students. Their drive has meant so much to us here at Bloomberry Juice. We are a very small company with limited resources on time and finance, so taking Bloomberry to national events is something we dream of!”

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