Virtual Business Breakfast Success
On Friday 3rd December 2021, staff and students of Rochdale Sixth Form invited representatives from local businesses to a virtual breakfast morning to discuss various ways that local businesses can support student life and future careers. The RSFC business breakfast is an annual event hosted by the college which aims to provide students with the best possible support from businesses in the area. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 restrictions and local guidelines, this year’s meeting was held via Teams in an online format.
The event began with an update from Principal Richard Ronksley. During his opener, Richard discussed the common career paths that students take after leaving RSFC, and how many students overlook working locally as a viable career path. He spoke about how many aspirational students seek to move into cities and to travel, without even considering Rochdale as an option. Richard’s speech emphasised the importance of local businesses creating these job opportunities for students and to prove that pursuing a local career can be successful too.
Following Richard’s update, the president and vice president of the Student Union, Jack and Farah, had prepared a presentation that included information about the SU and potential ways for local businesses to support students at Rochdale Sixth Form. Firstly, they discussed the various events that the Student Union has recently organised, such as Remembrance Day, Sexual Harassment Awareness Day, International Women’s Day, Springhill Hospice cake sale etc. Jack and Farah then addressed the representatives of the businesses directly in outlining a range of ways in which local businesses could potentially support students and the college. Examples of which include: a wider scope for work experience – aiming to provide students with more first-hand workplace practice; job opportunities – helping students to transition directly to the workforce; as well as more student discounts – of which representatives seemed keen to offer and provide.
Afterwards, the college introduced their guest speaker, Steve Rumbelow, Chief Executive at Rochdale Borough Council. Steve started by giving a detailed overview of the great work the council has been doing in their regeneration of Rochdale. He spoke about ongoing projects that Rochdale Borough Council have ongoing, such as work on the Town Hall, new and upcoming establishments in the Town centre, and the apartment blocks that are being built behind the Wheatsheaf Centre. Steve also mentioned valuable skills that employers look for in students and provided an insight into the current opportunities for careers in the local government.
Finally, the event ended with breakout rooms, consisting of students from RSFC and a group of local business representatives. This was an opportunity for students to ask any questions one-to-one with qualified experts about future career plans. The breakout rooms gave students, staff and employers a chance to network and interact.
The Rochdale Sixth Form Virtual Business Breakfast event received wide praise all round. Students showed great appreciation for the event, including one student who said, “thank you for providing us with this opportunity to broaden our insights on business and the future”. A member of staff, SPDL Gabs Hill also said "Thank you Carol for your great advice - our students will really benefit from it!”, which is testament to the wonderful support the college received from local businesses. It was clear that local businesses also benefitted from the event, with one employer stating, “Great morning session, thank you. Great to speak to the students and also get some new contacts”.
Overall, the Virtual Business Breakfast was highly successful and was unanimously regarded as a positive, and beneficial event for all parties involved.
By Jack Kelly