Inspiring co-operative enterprise through education
Auchmuty High School
Senior pupils were interested in looking at post school opportunities, so in order to allow them to find out more about the co-operative business world, a "Co-op Day" was planned.
How it developed
The school contacted The Co-operative Education Trust Scotland (CETS) to seek information and advice on what co-operative businesses were operating in the Fife region.
CETS offered to set up a day where a number of local co-operative would visit the school and give the students an opportunity to speak with them and find out what they did and how they operated.
7 local businesses took part in a speed networking event with 150 pupils, over one afternoon!
Each business gave a short outline of what they did , how their organisation was run co-operatively, then students had the opportunity to ask questions and engage in conversation with them.
When we discovered that there is now an SQA customised ward in co-operative studies, at levels 4, 5 and 6 we decide to give our students the opportunity to gain qualification in doing some of the enterprise work they would be undertaking anyway, throughout the course of the year . As the qualifications are not externally assessed and can be built up over a couple of years, it was a great opportunity for students to do some interdisciplinary and self directed learning through the fundraising and enterprising activities they were already planning.
What pupils gained and how effective the project was
Pupils gained a greater understanding of what co-operative working is all about. Most students were not aware that such a business model existed and were interested to learn about how the co-operative values and principles impacted on staff and what they did with their profits.
Some of the comments were:
"I didn't know that you could run a business where everyone shared equally in the decision making"
"It's good to learn that not all businesses are just about making a profit – co-ops want to help their communities too!"
"It's a good idea – if I wanted to start a business on my own, I might be a bit scared, but working with friends could be good fun!"
Is it sustainable?
A co-op day could be an annual event but the most sustainable aspect would be the timetabling of students to enable them to opt for an SQA award in co-operative studies.
Did you involve other partners?
What support did you get?
The Co-operative Education Trust Scotland contacted all the business involved, as well as supplying refreshments on the day.
All the participating businesses were willing to give future support to the school and students.