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, such as 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. They learn the business procedures, 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, coach or mentor. The trainer facilitates all the Practice Enterprise activities: motivating, challenging and supporting the trainees as they take on roles and responsibilities that are often very diﬀerent from their usual 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 while also taking responsibility for their own learning, development and business tasks.
Trainers involved in the Practice Enterprise receive guidelines and practical handbooks to run the Practice Enterprise with all relevant business procedures and to evaluate the trainees based on the same set of evaluation criteria.
The Business Mentor
Most Practice Enterprises are in contact with a company that comes from the real business world and functions as business mentor. The business mentor gives advice and ideas to the trainers and trainees about the processes and how a business is run. The business mentor 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
In countries that have a national network of Practice Enterprises, a national Central Office is established. The Central Office staﬀ provide 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 Practice Enterprises in their country. This includes offering some of the commercial and regulatory services which are expected to be accessible to the business world, for example: virtual banking, customs and taxation, utilities and a post office.
The Central Office is also responsible for training trainers, the national database, the banking system and online connections between national Practice Enterprises and those around the world, linking trainers and trainees from over 45 countries around the world.