17 October 2018

Dean Trust Q&A - education and business - Lawrence Jones MBE

Speaking to a group of young people from Dean Trust schools earlier today.

How much can you really learn from being talked at or reading a book?

I have to ask this question of our young people. These teenagers have a finite capacity for absorbing information by being talked at – we all do! It was fantastic therefore to welcome two GCSE classes from Dean Trust schools to UKFast Campus earlier today.

These teenagers are studying business and using UKFast as a case study. Whilst they could google it to get answers to all of the questions they have, instead, their teachers suggested a different approach. Rather than a search engine or books, more than 100 students piled into the auditorium to grill me on what it takes to grow and run a business.

Being able to put learning into context in this way is so important. Hearing real-world stories, the theory suddenly becomes tangible. It becomes a story that is far more memorable than statements on a page.

It’s interesting to see the differences in speaking to adult audiences compared to these 15-16-year-olds. Of course, no one wanted to ask the first question! Yet, there were a few characters in the room who were determined to squeeze every bit of information that they could out of me – I am certain these confident young people will go on to make waves in the business world when they’re older.

Attitude v skills

A lot of the conversation came down to skills. Whilst education is important, for me it is the transferable skills that count the most. Can you solve problems? How can you change your approach to fit new circumstances? Can you work in a team? Could you lead a team? How well do you communicate?

Aside from these skills, there is no doubt in my mind that the single most important part of any success story is attitude. When you are open to learning, to growing and to really putting in the hard graft, you are on track to achieving whatever you set your mind to.

It all comes down to belief. If you believe that you can do something, you’ll do it. It’s that simple.
Chatting through the history of UKFast and why we do what we do is also a learning curve for me. It forces me to think about why things work the way that they do and which areas we can improve. I hope it was just as valuable for the visiting students.

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