Helping Promising Students Become Tomorrow’s Entrepreneurs

Inside access to London’s thriving businesses equips an Ofsted outstanding school with the tools for entrepreneurship.

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Reading, writing and... detailed business plans? In addition to future mathematicians and historians, graduates of one East London school are now part of the next generation of entrepreneurs.

St. Paul’s Way Trust School (SPWTS), in Tower Hamlets, is thriving thanks to a community-wide effort that helped implement a creative curriculum rounded out with business and life lessons. The faculty and staff dedicate themselves to motivate their students and provide a first-rate education, resulting in high exam rates plus personal development opportunities. The school has been transformed—it is a fast-paced, highly achieving school that is both aspirational and inspirational, and students’ career goals and achievements are exploding.

Learning and Earning

To inspire students to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams, SPWTS launched the Enterprise & Employability Project funded by and developed with J.P. Morgan. Students practice business skills in a field of their choice, whether it’s food, sports or fashion. They gain real work experience at businesses beyond their neighbourhood – including Canary Wharf and Central London – and connect with executives to discuss their interests and goals. One group of students, for example, developed a community recipe book which they successfully pitched to be stocked at a local Tescos.

This inside access to many of the UK’s thriving companies, including J.P. Morgan, offers exposure to new experiences, career tracks and ideas.

“Our relationships with people and organisations like J.P. Morgan are so special – that our teens are now working in Canary Wharf is incredibly rewarding and exciting,” said Janet I., director of Enterprise & Employability.

Students at St. Paul’s Way Trust School work on employability and entrepreneurship skills.

Finding Mentorship and Confidence

J.P. Morgan, working with the school, initiated one programme designed to teach students important “soft skills” through mentorships with employees: presentation skills, self-confidence, CV writing and financial skills. Secondary school students attend sessions at J.P. Morgan at Canary Wharf, where they developed one-on-one relationships with mentors like Emmanuelle M., vice president in credit risk management at J.P. Morgan.

EMMANUELLE M.

vice president in credit risk management at J.P. Morgan

“This programme is giving kids employable skills early on; important things that if you don't get early might stop you later in life.”

But the impact goes both ways: “As an employee, you feel like you’re part of something bigger, something that matters on a personal level,” she added.

The connections often spark energetic new plans for the future.

“The programme has given me loads of confidence,” Sabina A., a past student participant, said. “It’s been quite inspiring because people like me work with the team and learn from them how to get to where we want to be in the future.”

Learn more about how J.P. Morgan works with London communities.

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