Year 12 economists were off-timetable on the last Wednesday of term for the inaugural Young Economists’ Conference. This was a partnership event which brought students together virtually from across the Southwark Schools’ Learning Partnership and further afield – 18 different schools were represented in total.
The day kicked off with talks from Helen Thomas, CEO of financial consultancy Blonde Money, on Financial Markets and Lal Chadeesingh, a senior advisor at the Behavioural Insights Team, on Behavioural Economics. Both sessions were superb as the speakers spoke and took questions on important A level topics, while also stretching the students beyond the curriculum by thinking about how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted those areas.
Students then participated in a workshop, asking them to apply the Behavioural Economics they had learned about earlier in the day to come up with their own policy for how to achieve healthier eating outcomes at their schools. Tasked with producing either a video or a poster outlining their policy: Eliza, Alice and Izzy from K.E.S. Stratford produced the top ranked video with their elegant and well-explained policy combination of choice architecture and the power of ‘free’ prices for fruit, while Kavya and Zayna from Wycombe High produced the most compelling poster with their explanation of how they would use choice architecture to design their ‘Green Canteen’.
After a break for lunch, students heard from a Careers Panel including the two initial speakers alongside Professor Lorenzo Trapani from Nottingham University and Dan Steele and Adam Beese (both OAs) representing recent and current students. The panel discussed post-school applications and tips on embarking on a career in Economics and related areas.
Finally, the conference finished with a fantastic presentation from Professor Diane Coyle of Cambridge University who delivered a lecture outlining the ideas of Natural Capital and Comprehensive Wealth. This talk challenged the students to think bigger about how we may need to change the way we think about capital and wealth in order to achieve sustainable outcomes.
A huge thank you must go to all of our speakers and panellists who provided really insightful and inspirational content for the students. Also, many thanks must go to six of our current A level students: Jano and Lorenzo, Ekow and Dan, and Fred and Kai. Each pair ran one of the three talks including chairing the question and answer sessions and did so with real skill.
We look forward to running the 2nd TYEC next year.