18 Jun Green Skills Investment Challenge with Man Group A National Voice for Global Warming Schools throughout the UK Presented Their Views
Written By Aarool B. – Year 9 student and edited by Mrs Nguyen
The Green Skills National Competition through Speakers for Schools, which I have greatly enjoyed participating in, was in its final rounds today, 14th June 2021.
This was a long anticipated virtual event with the top ten schools selected from the first round. And yes! Whitley Academy came in the top 10 TEAMS of the FINAL ROUND!
For your information, the 2021 Green Skills Challenge is the project run by the national charity Speakers for Schools in partnership with Man Group.
Man Group is a global active investment firm with its five investment engines (Man AHL, Man Numeric, Man GLG, Man FRM and Man GPM).
In this very exciting national competition, Man Group wanted students from schools to work together as a group of 6 (aged 14 plus) to make a video clip of a maximum of 8 minutes on their five chosen companies.
We were encouraged to talk about the company portfolios and why we chose them, their business responsible practices, and of course, our suggestions on improvements and developments that these companies could make in terms of their sustainability, supply chains and workforce, to name but a few.
I believe this has been an amazing opportunity for all of us participating, for we have been able to express our ideas even our ideals; in doing so, every single one of us has found at least something intriguing or surprising regarding certain companies.
For example, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) actually does their unlawful testing on animals through third-party companies, according to an anonymous investigation conducted in 2014. Who knows how much the testing would have accentuated into even more unlawful practices during 7 years from 2014 to 2021! All the while, GSK itself has not being legally involved, as they process the tests from said third-party companies!
Regardless, this competition has opened our eyes on certain companies whom we all thought we trusted. This competition has also increased the awareness we, the younger generation, have towards the nature. Is it not important for every single student to raise their awareness about our dearest and beloved nature, which we are, with our own destructive deeds, receding into an abyss of extinction?
In this way, a massive thank you to Speakers for Schools and The Man Group for hosting this competition, as our young minds’ ideologies have indeed changed towards our nature. OUR nature that we have to save OURselves.
The first round, with many entries from schools around the United Kingdom, had an end date of 28th May 2021 to submit our video entries. We formed a group of years 9 and 10 students – Ibrahim, Omonigho, Lola, Alicja, Alesha, and of course, ME –Aarool.
We all collectively decided the companies and split the research between the six of us. At first, when we recorded our video, I was a bit skeptical about all of this, not ever expecting to get to the next round!
Then Mrs Nguyen received a mail on Wednesday the 9th of June 2021, stating that we were one of the top ten finalists! I was very surprised when I heard this, because, as I mentioned I was rather dubious about our performance. I was particularly moved with with Miss Nguyen’s massive effort to make sure all of us know precisely how to prepare ourselves for the FINAL ROUND! I will forever be grateful to Mrs Nguyen. Thank you Miss!
From here, I was even more focused about the Competition, as I wanted all of our team to win the ultimate prize to take part in the 26th UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow this November 2021. Just imagine meeting people from around the world, discussing our views on climate change whilst witnessing the very proceedings of global leaders debate the key issues! I started to improve my speech by reducing it, yet adding more content… yes, haha, quite the juxtaposition!
Monday 14th June 2021, from 3 pm to 5:30 pm, was the final round, with the top ten teams engaging in a virtual meeting using MS Teams as the platform.
At 2:10pm, amidst the busy-ness of the school day with lots of activities around us, we – the team of 6 – got together in the vibrant and spacious Learning Resource Centre to discuss our final preparations, with an exciting yet apprehensive feeling. However, to relax us all, Miss Nguyen brought us all some minty and chocolatey ice cream; it was a great relief as it cooled us down – both in terms of heat, and in terms of anticipation for the FINAL ROUND!
At 3:10 pm, the final round began. We presented third, and it was a mixture of different emotions. We thought, upon reflection, how our presentation could have been better.
We then muted our microphones and sat comfortably to watch the presentations of the other finalists including Upton -by-Chester High School, Kilmarnock Academy and Beath High School in Scotland, London Academy, Holcolme Grammar School in Kent and North Birmingham Academy.
5:55pm – the winners were announced: Green Queens, and Nonsuch Sustains.
As for us, it was not a disappointing loss, as all of the top ten entrants are invited to join another virtual webinar with some of the top figures of Man Group, who are experts in analyzing and informing about companies. It will be yet another amazing opportunity, and we are highly looking forward to that! This time we will talk and question the adult panel!
To end, here are some of the reflections from our team members, regarding our performances in the finals:
Omonigho (Year 10): I won’t lie this round was quite nerve-racking and I do believe we tumbled but honestly, I quite enjoyed working under pressure with the panel of people asking questions.
Lola (Year 10): We were quite strong in the presentation side of things but struggled to articulate answers to the panel’s questions. I think that teamwork lacked in some areas where an answer was opposed by the other teammate’s answer. But overall, I was happy with my performance.
Ibrahim (Year 10): I feel that in comparison with the first round I wasn’t as aware, since I hadn’t realised my camera had been off due to connection. If I were more composed, then I would’ve done better. Overall, I enjoyed this competition experience a lot.
Alesha (Year 9): As a group I think we worked hard and spent a lot of time even though there were problems such as missing students and short time periods. To improve we could have done more group meet-ups before the competition but, in spite of that, I think we did really well!
Alicja (Year 9): I feel like as a group we did very well and tried our best. We had put in a lot of time and effort and had given it our best shot. I think we could have improved a little bit more on how we worked as a group.
and Aarool (me!): I feel that as a whole group we did rather well, as it took some time for us to grasp the technicality of the meeting, as we did not know the format of the meeting.
We definitely could have improved our cohesiveness as a group; we needed more teamwork and communication.
Looking back at the journey during the past many weeks of work on the Green Skills Challenge project, it has given us a positive platform to work with. In these days of information and news “booming” on various social media platforms, the terms ‘Global Warming’ and ‘Climate Change’ are often mentioned by the public. We really need opportunities for young people like this to research, understand what we have found and present our findings to the experts in the fields. We have learnt a lot and have started talking to our friends about ‘Green-Skill’ jobs when we finish schooling journey.
At this moment of writing the conclusion, I suddenly remember the wording from a poster on display in the school corridor:
“Tell me and I forget,
Teach me and I remember,
Involve me and I learn.”
The U.S. Statesman Benjamin Franklin and the Chinese philosopher Confucius
We thank the National Charity Speakers for Schools and the Man Group for the opportunity. We want to leave you with the famous saying about Climate Change in the lines below…
“No challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.”
Barack Obama (44th President of the United States)
Thank you for your time spending to read the blog 🙂
Written by Aarool – Year 9