BSSC’s Year 11 Economics class today began a two-year journey developing personal and professional skills under the guidance of the ‘Partner a Class’ program, sponsored by the Commonwealth Bank.

‘Partner a Class’ began at Cabramatta High School ten years ago when Andrew Roberts asked the principal how he could contribute more to the school.

A move to Bendigo saw him approach Dale Pearce and offer the program to our students.

“My passion is to give young people skills for life that truly prepare them for whatever future they choose,” Andrew said. “The program includes presentations, resume advice and culminates with a formal executive interview.”

Students will meet senior executives from specialty areas across the bank including CommSec and the HR Department.

“This program will trigger you to think differently,” Andrew told students. “It will give you skills across commerce and in public speaking. But it’s also about teaching you to play to your strengths—it’s about building up your confidence to succeed and create a professional presence.”

The students dived straight in.

Divided into groups with people they don’t usually work with, each group was given a packet of straws, some spaghetti, sticky tape, string and aluminium foil. Each group elected a CEO and a CFO to keep track of the costs of their materials and began planning the highest free-standing structure they could build in 15 minutes.

There were changes to commodity prices (eg. aluminium came down!), and time frames changed, but at last the box of chocolates was given to the tallest structure and students were asked to reflect on their experience.

Co-presenter, Adam Rose, affirmed the efforts of all the groups.

“You have been forced into a situation and you stepped up and accepted the challenge and ran with it,” he said. “That is a skill in itself. You have also reflected on what worked and what didn’t—that’s a valuable life skill.”

So what did some of the students have to say?

“Our whole group stuffed up. We should have stuck with the original plan,” one student reflected.

“We had so much fun and it was good bonding as a team,” another said.

As you read this, each team is now working on a presentation they have been asked to deliver to their peers, at the Commonwealth Bank boardroom, in two months’ time.

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