For the third year running, students from across colleges in South East Wales will have the opportunity to participate in the Trading Places ‘apprentice-style’ enterprise challenge. The project is led by First Campus, in partnership with Welsh Government Big Ideas Wales.
Co-ordinated through the Regional Enterprise Hub, the competition commenced with a selection event held at Cardiff University on 21st November. This event saw over 120 students from colleges across South East Wales, including Bridgend College, Coleg Gwent, Coleg Y Cymoedd, The College Merthyr Tydfil, St David’s Catholic College and Cardiff and Vale College come together and participate in a series of workshop activities in a bid to demonstrate their business and enterprise skills with the hope of being selected to progress to the next stage of the event.
Supported by NatWest and EE, the event provided a range of stimulating and challenging workshops 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.
Allison McCarthy, Senior Operations Manager at EE commented “EE were proud to be involved with such a fantastic event. We really enjoyed running workshops for the students to really encourage them to showcase their creative side, competiveness, communication and presentation skills and demonstrate how they would sell their product”.
NatWest relationship manager Andrew Tummon, said: "I really enjoyed being involved in the selection event for Trading Places. NatWest works hard to help young people see that setting up their own business is a possibility and can be incredibly rewarding. It's never too soon to start to develop the skills that make successful entrepreneurs. I wish all the participating students the very best of luck as they progress to the next stage of the competition to launch a pop-up shop in Cardiff - a valuable chance to try out their talents and skills in the real world."
One of the students who participated in the challenge was 17 year old Gareth Andrews.
College Merthyr Tydfil A2 student, Gareth Andrews
Gareth, an A2 level student at The College Merthyr Tydfil believes that participating in this initiative will provide him with extra skills and experience to add on to his UCAS application. Gareth, who is studying Maths, Chemistry and Computing, commented “I really enjoyed the event, particularly meeting and working with students from other colleges to solve key business issues. The event has provided me with lots of business, enterprise and communication skills that will help me when I progress onto university next year”.
You can follow Gareth’s progress in the competition on Twitter: @TradingPlacesSE, @collegemerthyr or Facebook: /CollegeMerthyr and /TradingPlaces, SEWales
The top 6 students from each college will now progress onto the final event held which will be held between the 9th and 11th December 2014. The finalists will spend two days in the University of South Wales, working in teams developing business plans and sales strategies and designing a retail space before launching a pop up shop in Cardiff city centre with support and guidance from academics and industry experts.
Chris Bissex, Head of Enterprise and Employability at The College Merthyr Tydfil and lead of the South East Wales hub, said “Trading places provides a fantastic opportunity for the students to gain experience of effectively presenting and selling their products in a real life business situation”.
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