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HELOA Best Practice and Innovation Award Winner 2019

Monday 03 June 2019

SHUBIZ Challenge - HELOA Best Practice and Innovation Award Winner 2019

Take a moment to remember being 16 years old, just starting college or sixth form. If you're anything like me you felt nervous about the new challenges ahead and worried about making friends.

This is where SHUBIZ Challenge can come in. SHUBIZ was designed to engage whole cohorts of Y12 students early in the academic year as an 'icebreaker'. The activity is an interactive, collaborative challenge aimed at developing valuable key skills, such as communication, decision making and team work.

SHUBIZ was created in response to Teacher and Adviser feedback which signalled that there was an appetite for skills-focused activity, coming from increased pressure to balance the curriculum with careers provision, skills growth and implementation of the Gatsby Benchmarks.

Split into teams of 6-10 members, up to 200 students work in collaboration to create their own toothpaste brand through completion of a variety of tasks. These tasks require a range of skill sets, meaning every participant has the opportunity to get involved.

For us, it was important to include activities and tasks which pushed students out of their comfort zones. This includes a presentation, performance of a TV advert and more creative elements such as product design.

It is only at the end of a SHUBIZ session that we refer back to Higher Education, with a handout detailing linked study options. This is what makes SHUBIZ different to traditional recruitment activity, in that it does not exclusively lean towards University but to the wider opportunities available to young people. This allows our team to reach more learners and demographics, in a way which is relevant and meaningful for them, regardless of their aspirations.

When SHUBIZ Challenge was created, we didn't anticipate the impact it would have or that it would go on to win a HELOA Best Practice and Innovation award. Yet, here we are 18 months later, having delivered to over 1300 Y12 students and counting.

At important part in the development of SHUBIZ was flexibility in response to student and staff feedback. At every opportunity, we have listened to our stakeholders about how we can best support them and used this to inform our practice. In SHUBIZ's case, this began with an initial trial. Feedback was positive but also gave us a starting point for refining the activity. As a result we incorporated more chances for students to work collaboratively and to present their ideas, all skills which the students themselves identified as important.

The process of collecting feedback has continued throughout the delivery of SHUBIZ which, aside from allowing us to continuously improve the session, has also confirmed to us that the activity is effective. Feedback has suggested that the social aspects, the creativity and the autonomy SHUBIZ encourages are the elements students' value most, along with the opportunities to develop important skills.

As indicated in our strategy, Sheffield Hallam has a clear vision to be the world's leading applied University. For us, best practice is supporting young people with the development of skills required to progress onto Higher Education, or other chosen pathways. Although this began with SHUBIZ Challenge, it is something we now are conscious of with all new activity and the discussions we have with both students and their influencers.

This blog was written by Kate Deakin from the Schools and Colleges Engagement Team at Sheffield Hallam University and was published in the HELOA Digest 18/04/2019

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