Adrian Murray from OCR makes the case for choosing their Level 1/2 Cambridge National Certificate in Enterprise and Marketing
From popular YouTube stars to TV’s The Apprentice and Dragon’s Den, young people have never been so exposed to the world of entrepreneurs. It’s no surprise therefore that a new practical and accessible qualification on creating a successful business with a focus on enterprise and marketing is proving popular among 14 to 16 year olds.
The OCR Level 1/2 Cambridge National Certificate in Enterprise and Marketing has been developed in collaboration with teachers, employers and the National Enterprise Challenge. It aims to give the growing numbers of young people aspiring to start their own business the skills required, such as being able to work collaboratively and creatively, solve problems and have awareness of business and customers. Teachers and students are attracted by the real world practical element of the course, with 50% of the qualification based on them using their own interests and ideas to create a product, make a business case and deliver and pitch their own business proposal. Introduced for first teaching in September 2017, the course appeals to students looking for a more practical alternative to GCSE Business that allows them to get to grips with all aspects of running a small business with particular focus on enterprise and marketing.
Students and teachers have really taken to the course at one Cotswold school, which has introduced the course in addition to GCSE Business. “Both staff and students are currently enjoying the course, both the content and the delivery,” said the course teacher, who is also the subject lead for enterprise with the EBEA. The practical element of the course has gone particularly well. “The students have responded well to this approach with the majority enjoying the challenge of having to present to others. This is all aimed at improving their confidence and helps them to develop their enterprise and employability skills.” It has also put the possibility of one day starting their own business into the minds of students: “It certainly raises the profile of small and self-employed businesses. I do not think this will necessarily be in the minds of students when they choose this as an option, but by the end of the course, there may well be more people who would consider self-employment.”
The course has given the school the opportunity to use different teaching approaches and has two teachers delivering the course: one concentrating on the examined unit and one on the assignment. – “The delivery of the examined unit has been more formal with use of case studies and exam style questions, whereas the assignment unit lends itself to more open ended and longer, student led tasks,” says the school. “We have spent time preparing the students for the pitch, including some practice pitches and presentations.” The school has found OCR’s resources on the website helpful and has also devised its own delivery schedule that has been shared with many other schools via Cambridge Nationals’ online community. As well as the online community schools have access to a Subject Advisor, a series of helpful videos via Cambridge Nationals TV and live online training.
At this school and many others, teachers like the way the OCR Level 1/2 Cambridge National Certificate in Enterprise and Marketing puts them in control of delivery and assessment. The course is assessed and moderated by the centre and can be done when the student’s work is ready. “It puts the power back with the teacher,” commented one teacher. “I know my students and when they’re ready for assessment,” Others commented: “It’s certainly much more user-friendly compared to similar courses” and “It puts the professional trust back with the teacher, which is what I like compared to other courses where you have to record and submit dates and stick to them. When you’ve assessed the work and think it is ready for moderation you can submit it in the next window.” Ease of admin has also encouraged some schools to make the switch, many liking the fact the processes are similar to what they are used to with GCSEs so there’s no steep learning curve. “You can concentrate on the course rather than worrying about the administration, making the course fun and interesting without worrying about dates,” was one comment, with many others mentioning how “user friendly” it is. Another commented: “It’s certainly much more user-friendly compared to similar courses”. The fact that the exam counts for less than with a GCSE, and it can be taken before the end of the second year has appeal to schools.
The course is divided into three units, with students taught as a group but recognised for individual achievement. The first unit takes the students through the techniques businesses use to understand their market and develop products, investigate what makes a product viable and understand how businesses attract and retain customers. They also learn about key aspects of small businesses. This unit is externally assessed by OCR through a 1 hour and 30 minutes exam. In Unit 2, students create a researched and costed business proposal, including conducting market research, presenting data, using idea generation tools, as well as seeking and acting on feedback and costing proposals. In Unit 3, they prepare for and pitch the business proposal developed in Unit 2. This includes developing a brand identity, investigating how to best promote their product and then plan and prepare the pitch.
As with other Cambridge Nationals, the OCR Level 1/2 Cambridge National Certificate in Enterprise and Marketing is designed to fit into the curriculum as an equivalent to a GCSE and will form a key part of any student’s Progress 8 and Attainment 8 approved subjects under the Technical Awards category.
While some students will go on to start their own business the course has also been developed to offer students long term transferable skills for the world of higher education and work, including personal presentation and communication skills. This is something that has made it particularly appealing to the Cotswolds school. “More general business knowledge has been developed and alongside this they have developed wider enterprise and employability skills,” says the school. “Many of this group will not progress to traditional A level courses. Some may well progress to more vocational courses run in school or at local colleges and some may be interested in apprenticeships.” The school also aims to start the L3 Cambridge Technical from September 2018 to give students a vocational progression route.
Whatever these students decide to do, with the first cohort set to complete the course next summer, this post Millennium generation will be hitting the work place full of entrepreneurial spirit, whether they become the next big YouTube star (or whatever follows on from that), part of a social enterprise, or a really great employee. Watch this space….