Budding entrepreneurs from across Torbay entered the ‘Dragon’s Den’ at a recent event designed to boost career aspirations.
Year eight students from across eight Torbay schools took part in the event on 25 November at the Royal Lyceum Theatre, pitching their business ideas to a group of local ‘dragons’ which included Carolyn Custerson, Alison Upton, Tony Horsey, Tim Durrant and David Rowe.
Organised by Jacqueline Hobson of The Heart of the Southwest Careers Hub and TDA, pupils were visited in school by representatives from four key industries including construction, photonics and microelectronics, tourism, and health and social care, all of whom spoke about their sectors and the challenges they face.
Pupils were then placed into teams and tasked with developing a business idea for their chosen sector over the autumn term with help from a local business mentor. One team from each school was invited to present their business ideas at the celebratory event where they were judged by a panel of local ‘dragons’.
The winning team was made up of pupils from The Spires College. Their project focused on improving awareness of photonics (the science and technology of light) amongst students in their school. To develop their idea, they ran a survey to establish that there was a gap in knowledge, approached the national careers platform Unifrog about developing a programme of study and delivered numerous in-school activities such as distributing questionnaires and career information.
One of the dragons commented: ‘‘Our future leaders on stage, I was there!’’
In second place was Brixham College and Torquay Boys Grammar School was in third position. All winning teams will receive chrome books and vouchers for their schools’ careers departments.
Councillor Swithin Long, Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration, Tourism and Housing for Torbay Council said: ‘‘This has been a hugely successful project which has fostered young people’s creativity, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. We were really impressed with the students’ ideas and how well they engaged with the scheme. We are also grateful to the local employers who volunteered their time to mentor students and those who sat on the judging panel. Their involvement allowed pupils to gain valuable insight into a wide range of industries and job opportunities, providing inspiration for their own future careers.’’