Students from two schools in Birmingham have been recognised at an exclusive Aston Villa Football Club awards ceremony, after taking part in the football club’s Social Enterprise Academy.
Young people from Small Heath School and Q3 Academy recently completed the year-long social enterprise programme, which teaches business and enterprise skills, but in a football context. The awards ceremony took place on Tuesday 9th September at Aston Villa’s Villa Park, where parents, players, young people and the programme leaders were all in attendance, as well as staff from the schools and representatives from the various charities that the programme and students helped to support.
Through the social enterprise programme, the young people gained the ground-breaking Social Enterprise Qualification (SEQ) at Silver Level (Level 2 award on the QCF), which enabled them to organise a social enterprise project to solve an ethical issue.
Leandro Bacuna, a premier league player from Aston Villa Football Club, was in attendance to present the students with their awards. Every young person involved was presented with a certificate, and some of the young people also achieved individual awards to recognise their heard-earned achievements for their social enterprise projects.
Debbi Rawson, Aston Villa Football Club’s Social Enterprise Academy Coordinator, said, “The awards ceremony has been a fantastic opportunity for the students to showcase how hard they have worked to their peers, school staff and their parents. They also presented the money from their social enterprise businesses to the charities they chose to support. The representatives from the charities were extremely grateful and it was nice for them to meet and thank the students face to face. It was a very successful event and the students said they felt proud to be part of the Aston Vila Social Enterprise Academy.”
Paula Winzar, Lead Developer of the SEQ at Real Ideas Organisation, said, “Working with Aston Villa Football Club has been an amazing opportunity, and the young people’s work on the SEQ has been some of the best we’ve seen resulting in examples of best practice. The opportunity for the young people to learn about business in a real world context, and partner with club departments to generate social enterprise projects, has been incredibly valuable to them. This is something they can talk through in university or job interviews, and provides them with real business skills early on in life.”
Seven groups of young people from across the two schools took part in the Social Enterprise Academy, and their social enterprise projects ranged from the production and sale of healthy snacks and drinks to tackle obesity, working with Aston Villa Football Club’s critically acclaimed restaurant to sell homemade high quality desserts, donating all proceeds to a local homeless charity, and the creation and sale of high energy, nutritious snacks to the large portion of students who had recently fasted as part of Ramadan. They were awarded for the fantastic outcomes of their projects, which helped charities and organisations around their community.
Birmingham Children’s Hospital was one organisation to receive support from one of the social enterprise projects. Justine Cleary, Community Fundraiser there, said,” It was a great pleasure to attend the Aston Villa Social Enterprise Academy Awards. The Academy offers a fantastic opportunity for young people to develop and showcase their entrepreneurial skills and to support some very worthwhile local causes. We are hugely proud of the team that supported Birmingham Children’s Hospital, who worked so hard to generate a sizable profit that was donated to our Children’s Cancer Centre Appeal. We look forward to working closely with the Academy again in the future.”
The SEQ has been used to accredit social enterprise learning in a number of contexts. As well as forming the accredited part of Aston Villa Football Club’s Social Enterprise Academy, it has also been used in schools, housing associations, youth centres and even in the judicial system. RIO (the Real Ideas Organisation) developed the SEQ in partnership with SFEDI Awards, and it officially launched in February 2012. The qualification is available at Bronze, Silver and Gold; a Level 1 Award, Level 2 Award and Level 2 Certificate on the Qualifications and Credit Framework. The young people from AVFC’s Social Enterprise Academy gained the SEQ at Silver Level.
Aston Villa’s Social Enterprise programme will be delivered to three schools in Birmingham at the start of this school year, with Hamstead Hall Academy eager to take its students through the programme, and Small Heath School and Q3 Academy signing up for a second year.