Jacqueline Cohen shares her experience working on ClearDebtâ€™s latest community project in support of local media students.
With slang like dosh, wolly and wonga, itâ€™s amazing how even in my thirties, I often feel too old to connect with what we professionally call, â€śyoung adultsâ€ť. We might think we talk the same…but we donâ€™t.
In 2011, I was invited to local school Blessed Thomas Holford (BTH) to assist with a project where BTEC Media students had designed a cleaning project and as part of their coursework, had to pitch to a client. My role in this scenario was to use my 15 years of marketing experience to play the part of the client.
Three hours later, I was both impressed and disappointed. Impressed in the talent I saw and yet so disappointed that all their efforts had gone to waste on a project and pitch that was for a fictional client.
Investing in local community projects is really important to ClearDebt so this issue bothered me. As a result, we came up with an idea which would genuinely make a difference to the students at BTH and hopefully to a wider audience of the same age.
A plan to turn the studentâ€™s ideas into reality
A month later, I was working with BTH Assistant Head Teacher, Martin Lish to offer the students a chance to design and pitch the concept for a new website. The website would address young peopleâ€™s approach to spending money and the understanding of debt and credit â€“ with the target audience being their peers and the target success being a viral internet spread.
The issue of financial education has been at the forefront of many a debate and this project provided us with the opportunity to create a website which inspires young people to think about money management in a way that they can relate to. This was a project about making a difference, without any commercial interest or gain for ourselves.
Over the following three months, our â€śpanelâ€ť met with the students on a regular basis to offer guidance with their ideas. The project concluded with a final pitch session, enabling each group the opportunity to present their final concept in full. We were mesmerised, inspired and overwhelmed by the effort and heart which had gone into this project. We were also utterly spoilt for choice.
Although there was only one winning pitch, to honour the effort of others who had taken part, we have also offered all participating students, the opportunity to join us over the summer and assist with elements of the â€śbuild phaseâ€ť of this project.
Our winner, Callum Powell, has already been in to see us and over the summer months we will be developing his â€śconceptâ€ť into a reality.
Assistant Head Teacher Martin Lish comments
The students have gained so much working with the industry professionals from ClearDebt.
It was great to be able to develop a project in conjunction with such a great team and then have it judged by people who know marketing and modern media techniques inside out. The concept around which the project is based was money management, not only did students learn about creating a media product but as prospective FE students they also gained insight into the dangers of a new credit card and easy credit. Given the opportunity I would like to further develop Blessed Thomas Holford’s links with ClearDebt and work with them again next year.
Watch this space for updates as we develop what is sure to be a very exciting project!