Pupils from Kineton High School have battled it out in the LionHeart Challenge to produce the best business idea to support the most vulnerable in the community.
The winning team conceived an idea for a CV fayre designed for ex-offenders, to help them back into the workplace and reduce re offending rates. Winners were also awarded for their work on marketing, finance, teamwork, concept, community group and overall champion. An Outstanding Pupil Award was given to Lewis Mack, who was also Team Leader of the overall champion team, for his management skills and flexibility across the team.
Eight groups from Year Nine competed against each other. They were guided and advised throughout the day by experienced LionHeart business coaches and senior business managers from Stratford firm Valpak, which sponsored the event.
Working in groups, the students assessed their individual skills and talents, developed a business idea, and created financial and marketing plans. Each member of the team took on a dedicated role and presented their report to the team of judges. Finally, they developed an overall presentation, poster and a business card, which was presented to the whole group.
The students were keen to develop their ideas and bring them to fruition. Comments afterwards included: “We learnt about marketing, finance, teamwork, communication and how to manage a whole project. Over the course of today we have learnt to work with different people other than our friends. This involved trust, good communication and understanding each team member’s strengths to make sure our community project was the best it possibly could be.”
Steve Gough, CEO of Valpak, and one of the judging panel, described the teamwork and level of creativity shown by the pupils as outstanding. He added: “At the start of the day, the judging panel including myself were briefed by the Lionheart team on the task for the day and the judging process. The task to be undertaken by the students looked very challenging indeed and we were all curious to see how they would be able to meet the challenge in the given time period.
“We were all extremely impressed with the quality of the work the students produced as well the observing how they all worked together in teams. The students presented their ideas to the judging panel and the other students in confident and professional manner. The day has left a lasting impression on us in terms of the projects selected and the determination shown to complete the task. We hope that day has given the students an insight into the business world and how projects are conceived, financed and marketed.”
Josela Renardson, Marketing Manager at Valpak, and an advisor on the day agreed: She said: “It was really good to work with the young people in our community and to get an understanding of the issues as they see them. It is also empowering for them to know that they can help do something about it. Work like this helps give people a sense of pride in their community; it is this pride that helps us to better care for all aspects of our surroundings, including the social and environmental.”
The LionHeart Challenge is designed to inspire pupils to uncover the many skills they already possess, and to show them how useful their talents are in a business and work context. Most importantly, it helps to build their confidence in a work and business situation.
The project always works with actual business professionals to support the pupils and give them the tools to make real decisions. In this case, the experts included marketing, finance and community/business advisors form Valpak, and six local community representatives.
Valpak’s parent group, Reconomy, recently took part in the LionHeart challenge. Pupils and Reconomy staff alike were impressed by the range of skills demonstrated by the students. Ninety-four per cent of pupils said later that, as young citizens, they had never before been asked for their opinions, thoughts and ideas on how to play an active part in helping their community to be a better place to live in.
Students at Kineton concluded: “Building an idea for a business requires a lot of planning and brainstorming, and so having the helpers from the sponsor there, who were extremely friendly and open to helping us all day with the Challenge was brilliant. It was good because we got the opportunity to have an insight on what life is really like in a work place!"