Brickhill Primary pupils try out a day in the life of a Harpur Centre manager

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Harpur Centre Brickhill Primary
With centre manager, Samantha Laycock

Have you ever wondered what it takes to run Bedford’s Harpur Centre? Brickhill Primary pupils recently found out when they were given behind-the-scenes ‘access all areas’ and the chance to live the life of a Centre Manager for the day.

The schoolchildren were recently invited to explain why they would like to be a Centre Manager for the day and then two lucky students were chosen to live out their dream and find out just what it takes to be in charge of the Harpur Centre.

Sofia, 10, and Tommy, who had just turned 11, started off their day with a full security debrief before being trained on how to use the Centre’s radios and the computer system, even getting a chance to sit in the Centre Manager’s chair.

Tommy said, “I thought it was a memorable experience and enjoyed seeing what was behind the scenes, until now I thought it was just shops.”
His colleague-for-the-day, Sofia, said,  “I liked seeing what others don’t see. We were able to ask questions about the centre and we got them answered. I enjoyed being able to do some of the jobs that Sam [the Harpur Centre manager] would normally do.”

After a free lunch at Greggs, the dynamic duo then got the chance to patrol their Centre, giving it a full site survey and making sure everything was clean, tidy and safe.

The winners even had the chance to explore the unseen areas of the Centre that shoppers don’t usually get to see, seeing how the centre staff dispose of rubbish from stores and even gave the Centre’s social media a quick check to see if they’d gone viral.

Samantha Laycock, centre manager at Harpur Centre, said: “We loved having both Tommy and Sofia with us and hoped they learned a lot from the experience and had a lot of fun while doing so.

“We know our shoppers loved having them too as at one point a lady stopped us in the new lift to tell us she had come into the Centre that day in the hopes of seeing the little workers after spotting them on our social media.”

Dan Veal, teacher at Brickhill Primary, added, “I was honoured when the Harpur Centre reached out to us to run this project.

“It was a brilliant opportunity to work alongside one of the businesses within Bedford and Tommy and Sofia made excellent managers and were a real credit to the school.

“I am grateful to the team at the Harpur Centre for making us feel welcomed and allowing our pupils an opportunity to see a wide range of potential career paths for their future.”


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