Leader for a day

An event where young people get the chance to test out being a leader of a company or an organisation for a day.

The ‘Leader for a day’ event is an established concept within the Junior Achievement Sweden organisation. In Gävle, it has been held twice: in autumn 2015 and autumn 2016. Ten young people, former Junior Achievement entrepreneurs, were each given the chance to shadow a major company leader on the job over the course of one day. The participants have been 19–23 years of age. Organising the event were Junior Achievement Sweden – Gävleborg and Brynäs IF hockey club and their ‘A good start’ activities. See fact sheet 2 for more information.

The aim is to build bridges between young people and the business world. Giving youth an understanding of leadership and what’s needed to be a leader, and what it takes to become a leader. Also giving our corporate leaders an understanding of today’s youth and their challenges.

The event was held over two days. During the first day, the young people were invited to two different talks about leadership. They also got to meet all the leaders taking part in the event over lunch. The objective of the lunch was to provide an opportunity to network and speak with everyone; then the students could request which leader to shadow. At the end of the day, each young person was matched with a leader, which they then shadowed on the job the next day.

On day two, everyone was out at their workplaces, but at the end of the day, the group met for dinner and a summary. These joint meetups also gave everyone the opportunity to network and establish connections with more people than just the leader they shadowed during the day.

How this resource relates to Shaping Characters objectives

  • Attitudes and attributes
  • Motivation and resilience
  • Partnership working

Actual outcomes

Judging from the evaluations, both the leaders and the young people have gained new insights during the day. The leaders have started to review their leadership and think about how they act as leaders. They also received a lot of great input from the young people, new ways of thinking and inspiration.

The young people thought the day was fun and inspiring. For many it was challenging and a little scary, but by the end of the day, everyone had a positive experience. They also gained a new outlook on leadership, stepped outside their comfort zones, and practiced their social skills.

Both times we organised this event, it has led to job interviews, theses and further contacts.

Resources required

One project manager, 10 corporate leaders, 10 young people. A room for the talks, lunch and dinner. Food and refreshments for the participants.

How was it funded?

Junior Achievement Sweden and ‘A good start’ shared the cost of the event.

Time needed

The preparations to ensure that everything worked logistically were rather time-consuming. We started planning six months before the event by booking the leaders and finding engaged participants. In total, it took approximately 40 hours.

The event can take place over one to two days; in our case, two days.

What could have been done differently or is planned for future repeats?

You can have several different variants of the event when it comes to activities around the main activity; dinners, talks, etc., are not necessary, but they can heighten the experience and create a more comprehensive experience and a stronger network.

You can organise the event to include more/fewer young people and corporate leaders.

Next time, we will be aiming to involve higher-level managers to make the event more attractive.

How was or could the project be sustained?

This is a recurring event in our operations, and it is held once each year, during the autumn term.

Being able to see how you actually act and work in a leadership role was, in my opinion, unbelievably rewarding!

Quote from a participant:

Great! Fun! Rewarding! I am firm believer in these types of meetings. Alumni/young people get to network, and companies get to meet ambitious, smart young people. It’s a win-win! We should do more of these types of meetings! 

Quote from a leader:

Links to related online resources

Contact information