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Year 9 students at City Academy in Hackney for the City Conferencing Business (CCB) programme

City Conferencing Business brings enterprise to life

Year 9 students at City Academy in Hackney for the City Conferencing Business (CCB) programmeSince 2011, Inspire! has been delivering a bespoke enterprise programme for Year 9 students at the City Academy, Hackney. Funded by the Academy’s sponsor, KPMG, and the City of London Corporation, the City Conferencing Business (CCB) programme gives students the opportunity to take part in a real-life business venture.

The CCB team’s goal is to promote the school as a conference and event venue, and to manage all the associated planning: from pitching for bookings, to choosing decorations and refreshments, through to invoicing. In the process, their confidence, teamwork and understanding of the world of work all get a boost. The programme takes on a new group of Year 9 students every year, so while last term saw the induction of a new team, a final celebratory event for the 2014/15 cohort also took place at KPMG.

After applying to participate in the programme, students take up designated job roles. These include marketing, finance and HR roles, all overseen by the chosen CEO! The programme takes the team through a series of workshops, trips and visits from volunteers, all of which use the hook of events management to improve students’ teamwork skills and understanding of how businesses operate.

The CCB team for 2014/15 had a packed schedule. They were invited to contribute to the design of KPMG’s new community space, SPRING, and visited their offices to take part in a consultation session. Following the session, and having taken many of the students’ ideas on board, KPMG subsequently invited them to help out at SPRING’s launch event.

The students also visited Mansion House, where they met with volunteers from the events management team. As well as taking part in speed networking – providing an invaluable insight into the events industry – and problem-solving activities, the students also got a rare opportunity to discover the venue’s beautiful and historic interiors.

Following a great pitch from the students, the Inspire! team was lucky enough to sample CCB’s services when we recruited them to plan and host a celebratory staff meeting. Party poppers, canapés, balloons and a truly magnificent cake were the order of the day, and the students were consummate professionals throughout.

The team also took part in workshops led by expert volunteers from Google and Jar London. Their contribution – and that of all our wonderful volunteers – was key to the success of the programme, and we are hugely grateful to all of them for giving up their time to support the students’ development.

The group’s final engagement, which spilled over to the 2015/16 academic year, saw the students back at KPMG’s offices for a celebration of their achievements. In keeping with the entrepreneurial spirit of the CCB programme, some of the students took it upon themselves to plan games for the group to play, getting proceedings off to a great start. They then took part in challenges designed to test the skills developed over the course of the project, and, following some reflection on the year’s events and achievements, all received a certificate of graduation from the scheme.

The students’ feedback showed that they all felt taking part in the project had made a tangible improvement to their teamwork, time management and problem-solving skills, with many also reporting an increase in their confidence and ability to communicate. Some also told us that the project helped them plan for their future careers: “I experienced new opportunities that made me want to take part in that job,” said one; another told us the trips gave them “a better idea of what we could do in the future”.

The 2015/16 cohort are now settled into their roles within CCB and have started their course of workshops. A visit to Mansion House is planned for later in January. Charlotte Gaughan, Senior Programme Manager, said “we’re so proud of last year’s CCB team and their achievements, and we’re really looking forward to helping another group of enterprising students develop their skills for the world of work. CCB is such a great tool for unlocking students’ potential and we’re sure this year’s cohort will do fantastic things together. The team are always looking for bookings, so if you have an event to plan, get in touch and let CCB show you what they can do!”

If you’d like to find out more about our bespoke programmes for schools, or how you can support the CCB programme, get in touch by emailing