College Merthyr Tydfil student Lauren Davies has been commended for her role in a recent three-day Trading Places Enterprise programme organised by First Campus at the University of South Wales, in partnership with the South East Wales FE Enterprise hub, EE, Natwest and the Morgan Quarter, Cardiff. The programme, which aims to help youngsters understand how they can become entrepreneurs by developing their “big ideas”, involved 42 students from six colleges across South East Wales. The students were divided into six teams and were tasked with putting together a presentation outlining their USPs, sales skills and team strengths, culminating in selling their products in a pop-up shop in the Morgan Arcade on Thursday 11th December.
As part of the challenge, Lauren had to undergo a grueling selection process which saw her compete against 120 other students in a series of workshop activities designed to demonstrate her business and enterprise skills and earn her a place on the next stage of the competition.
But it didn’t stop there! As part of Stage two of the competition, Lauren and the other 41 successful students were divided into teams of six for a series of stimulating and challenging workshop activities aimed at providing them with first hand advice, skills and experience on developing and marketing a business strategy and enabling them to put their researching, negotiating, buying and promotion skills to the test.
Supported by NatWest and EE, these workshops activities were centred around the key aspects of the ACRO ‘Understanding entrepreneurship Model’ encouraging students to think strategically and innovatively about the skills required to run a successful business - including attitude, creativity, relationships and organisation.
NatWest relationship manager Andrew Tummon, who run a series of Meet the Bank Manager sessions for the students commented "This is an excellent opportunity for these students, who have worked so hard to get this far. They have displayed strong entrepreneurial skills which will stand them in good stead whether they choose to start their own enterprise or go into employment. More and more young people are seeing self-employment as a viable and rewarding career option, and events such as Trading Places give them a great insight into the realities of running a business. I really enjoyed working alongside them throughout the competition”.
Their final test began in earnest on Thursday when they had to use all of their skills to successfully sell their products to shoppers visiting their Pop Up Shop at Morgan Arcade.
Lauren said “I didn’t really know what to expect when I signed up for this challenge, but I’ve had a really brilliant experience. I found the challenge to be really inspiring. In addition to learning a lot about the skills required to successfully set up and run a business the competition has really boosted my confidence and made me realise the opportunities that are out there for students like myself. I also got the opportunity to be part of a live BBC Radio interview which was quite nerve wracking but really enjoyable. I was initially worried about having to work in teams with students from other colleges. However, we all got on really well and will be keeping in touch in the future”
Chris Bissex, Head of Enterprise and Employability at The College Merthyr Tydfil commented “Lauren consistently displayed a real flare for leadership throughout the event. I was extremely impressed with the imaginative ideas she suggested and by the way she obtained buy-in from her team members in order to implement them”.
The Trading Places Enterprise project, launched in 2013, is led by First Campus, in partnership with Welsh Government Big Ideas Wales and coordinated through the South-East Wales Regional Enterprise Hub. The challenge involves seven teams of students from colleges across South-East Wales. The winning team is the one that displays the most effective business management skills and demonstrates the best teamwork throughout the course of the project.
To hear more about the challenge, please visit: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04t9fhp
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