Thursday, 1 December 2016

Westcoast Mentors help students win their place in the Champions of Enterprise Grand Final

In September 2016 Westcoast were given the opportunity to mentor students from local community schools as they took part in the West Berkshire Champions of Enterprise competition. Throughout the autumn more than 400 sixth form students from five secondary schools took part in this exceptional competition. They were joined by volunteer mentors from 12 companies and each mentor was tasked with inspiring and advising a team of students while giving up 150 hours of their time for the project.

Five senior Westcoast staff excitedly embarked on mentoring their respective teams, and they were witness to a deluge of creative ideas over the last school term. While the students may have grappled with the huge challenge the results have been inspiring and the skills they’ve learned will go a long way towards preparing these youngsters for working life. “It is this direct involvement with employers that gives this programme its immense value,” explains spokesperson for the Education Business Partnership West Berkshire (EBPWB), Melanie Watt.

More about the competition

Presented by EBPWB and sponsored by Greenham Common Trust, the Champions of Enterprise is an inter-school competition that tasks students with evaluating three real local businesses – this year they were Gist Ltd, Waitrose Newbury and Environmental Waste Management - and deciding which real life business challenge their team will attempt to solve. While students may not have business experience, they are bright and full of fresh ideas, and alongside the experience of their mentor the results were some very interesting and innovative solutions.

The mentors are local business people like Westcoast who volunteer their time to guide the students in choosing their challenge, creating a SWOT analysis, and presenting their proposed solution to a panel of judges who then choose a winning team from each school to progress to the final. This year the participating schools were Trinity School, Kennet School, The Willink School, St Bartholomew’s School and Park House School.

The Grand Final

After listening to and questioning each team the panel of judges - also made up of local business people and including Westcoast’s managing director Alex Tatham – chose their six winning teams. 

The grand final is set to take place on the 6th of December at the Regency Park Hotel in Thatcham and Westcoast is more than a little delighted and proud to say that two of our mentors’ teams - Karl Harris (Group IT Director) and Dave Martin (Enterprise Sales Manager) - are part of those final six in the running to be named the ultimate Champions of Enterprise.

Westcoast is looking forward to attending the final and celebrating the students’ hard work over the last 16 weeks 

"We would like to thank all the businesses for their willingness to be involved in and their enthusiasm for Champions of Enterprise 2016 and for the difference this makes,” concludes Watt.

To find out more or to become involved you can visit their website here 

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