In a Practice Enterprise environment, the trainees are the ‘employees’ and ‘managers’ of their business. They work in teams undertaking the tasks required by a particular PE department; for example, Finance and Purchasing, Administration, Human Relations, and Sales and Marketing. Once they have been inducted into their business, they spend time in each department, or in one targeted department, learning the tasks and skills required to ensure their business is viable. Like real employees, they not only demonstrate their ability to complete a wide range of tasks, they also learn the importance of team work, business communication, goal setting, business planning, time management, and the numerous skills required to improve employability.
In a Practice Enterprise, trainers adopt the role of a workplace facilitator. The trainer facilitates all the Practice Enterprise activities: motivating, challenging and supporting the trainees as they take on roles that are often very diﬀerent from their usual workplace skills learning activities. Initially the trainer will take a strong role in directing and structuring the Practice Enterprise activities, however as the trainees gain more conﬁdence, the trainer slips into a facilitator role. Trainees work in groups under the general supervision of the trainer/facilitator while also taking responsibility for their own learning and development.
Trainers involved in the Practice Enterprise follow a training structure to become a good workplace facilitator. Trainers receive guidelines and practical handbooks to run the Practice Enterprise and to evaluate the trainees based on the same set of evaluation criteria.
The Business Mentor
Most Practice Enterprises have a mentor company that comes from the real business world. The business mentor gives advice and ideas to the trainers and trainees about the processes and how a business is run and can provide the real-world products and services for sale within the virtual environment. In some cases, business mentors are involved in the recruitment and evaluation process of the students.
The national central office
The national Central Office staﬀ provides all essential macro-economic functions and support operations which are expected to be available to the business world to create a complete economic simulation for PEs in their country. This includes offering some of the commercial and regulatory services which are expected to be available to the business world, such as virtual banking, customs and taxation, utilities and a post office. The CO is also responsible for trainers training, the national database, banking system and online connections between national PEs and those around the world, linking trainers and trainees from over 45 countries around the world.