Teenagers take lead in green business with the Make it Enterprising Schools Challenge

December 18th, 2009

darlansschoolpicTeenagers from Flintshire, Wrexham, Cheshire West and Chester took the lead in running their own green manufacturing businesses when they competed in the UPM Shotton Paper Make it Enterprising Schools Challenge on Tuesday 8 December.

Winners were Darland High School, Wrexham (1st) and Helsby High School, Frodsham (2nd) who will both go through to the Make It Grand Final next April. Special commendation also went to Connah’s Quay High School and Hawarden High School, both of Flintshire, for their hard work, creativity and excellence in problem solving and team working.

The 14 and 15 year-old boys and girls from 12 schools set up their own Eco-PART (Ecologically-Sound Paper and Recycling and Technology) businesses. They designed and built imaginative eco-friendly vehicles to transport their forested and harvested wood to the production site, and then deliver their recycled paper products within cities.

The free event was part of The Manufacturing Institute’s Make It in Manufacturing campaign (www.makeit.org.uk) to attract talented young people into industry, an initiative that is being expanded this year thanks to support from the Northwest Regional Development Agency and European Regional Development Fund.

The event was sponsored by the Mersey Dee Alliance, with particular support from Wrexham, Flintshire and Cheshire West and Chester Councils and the Welsh Assembly Government, all committed to helping manufacturing businesses within the area to gain competitive advantage through building world class workforces.

UPM’s own young apprentices and graduates were on hand to help each team set up their own manufacturing enterprise for the day and take on job roles from managing director to operations managers – through to finance, sales and marketing managers.

They developed, designed and costed their ideas and built their vehicles from polydrons. They then created imaginative sales and marketing campaigns, before pitching to a panel of business ‘dragons’ from UPM who decided which teams were worth investing in.

Said Nicola Eagleton-Crowther, Campaign Manager for Make it at The Manufacturing Institute: “All the teams came up with some brilliant designs and marketing campaigns and we were delighted by their enthusiasm and performance. We got very positive feedback from the students and teachers on the day and this was reflected in the shift in perceptions about working in industry. At the start and the end of the day we asked how many young people would consider a career in manufacturing and the number saying yes rose from 40% to 56%.”

David Ingham, General Manager, UPM Shotton Paper, said: “Businesses like ours need to recruit talented young people and we were certainly impressed by the talents these students demonstrated on the day. We were delighted to have an opportunity to share our passion for manufacturing with young people and give them a realistic insight into what modern, sustainable manufacturing is all about.”

Cllr Aled Roberts, Chair of the Mersey Dee Alliance and Leader of Wrexham County Borough Council, said, “We were delighted to support the Make It Enterprising Schools Challenge in our area; it built on links already established between schools and local businesses. The manufacturing sector is of vital importance to the local and national economy and by working in partnership with the Manufacturing Institute and local manufacturers like UPM Shotton, partners in the Mersey Dee Alliance aim to encourage young people to gain new skills and recognise opportunities available to fulfil their potential in a rewarding career.”

 You can find more news from The Manufacturing Institute at: http://www.manufacturinginstitute.co.uk

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