Students earn praise from business leaders and Mayor in the ‘Dragons’ Den’

Our students earned praise from Bristol’s business leaders at the Community-Apprentice Pitching Challenge. We have three teams taking part in the Community-Apprentice competition this year, which is running in ten schools across the city. Loosely based on the popular TV series, The Apprentice, Community-Apprentice is an inter-school competition which requires young people to develop and, crucially, demonstrate the competencies most valued by employers whilst managing their own projects. In this case students compete not to see who can make the most money, but who can make the biggest positive impact on their community.

Turning ideas into action

Over the past few weeks the teams have been coming up with ideas and developing them into a practical plan for their social action projects. They have set a clear goal, identified relevant activities, allocated responsibilities, set deadlines, identified resources, and produced a budget.

Team Change4Change are planning to tackle homelessness by increasing the public’s awareness of how to help and fundraising for local night shelters. Team XL are planning to tackle obesity through an awareness raising campaign and Team Drugs Abused are focusing on drug abuse by delivering peer education workshops on the issue.

Pitch perfect

On Wednesday 7th December our teams pitched their ideas to a panel of ‘Dragons’ – made up of local business leaders –  for funding to help implement their plans and feedback to improve the impact of their projects.

Tom Prince, a ‘Dragon’ and the Widening Participation and Undergraduate Recruitment Officer team at the University of Bristol said, “I thoroughly enjoyed my role as a ‘Dragon’, the students were brilliant – it’s clear that they and the mentors have worked incredibly hard and it was genuinely impressive to see them all present with such confidence and professionalism.”

The event was held in the impressive surroundings of The Bristol Hotel and kindly sponsored by Great Western Railway. Twenty teams from schools across the city pitched in front of each other as well as the panel, giving students the opportunity to watch others to learn what makes a successful pitch, whilst gaining experience and confidence to develop their own communication skills.

Community-Apprentice has recently been recognised by the Department of Education as an effective model for employer engagement, students are mentored by volunteers from local businesses throughout the programme to support their development. Our teams were mentored by volunteers from St. James’s Place Wealth Management in preparation for the pitch and on the day itself. One of the students at the event said “today I have learnt to be more confident whilst doing public speeches and I’d like to thank our business mentors for giving us helpful advice and supporting us throughout our project so far.”

The event was opened by a message from Mayor Marvin Rees who acts as the kinder version of Lord Sugar for the programme. Addressing  the students the Mayor thanked them for “tackling issues close to my heart and absolutely critical for the city’s future” and pledged his support for their participation in the programme saying “I and other people in Bristol are determined to offer you the platform you need to grow into the fullness of your potential.”