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You’re hired! Pupils star in TV-style apprentice challenge

Lanark firm Border Biscuits hosted the budding entrepreneurs

This summer 16 students from South Lanarkshire were put through their paces in an Apprentice-style challenge at a range of businesses including Border Biscuits, designed to encourage entrepreneurship.

The Inspiring Enterprise Challenge, created and organised by Bright Yellow Thinking and South Lanarkshire Council’s planning and economic development services, received £10,000 from UK Steel Enterprise (UKSE), the economic generation arm of Tata Steel, in partnership with South Lanarkshire Council to boost the project this year.  

Aimed at 15-17 years-old students, the initiative runs for two weeks during the summer holidays. Like the television show, students faced an interview process for the chance to participate, with the chosen candidates being given the opportunity to take part in challenges set by local businesses.

The budding entrepreneurs were set a range of tasks, including designing a new product for Border Biscuits, coming up with fundraising activities for Kilbryde Hospice as well as developing an innovative new business idea. For each project, pupils must consider factors such as financial viability, packaging and advertising. They gain points at each stage and the winner is announced at an awards dinner at the end of the programme.

Anne Clyde, regional manager at UKSE, said: “This is a fantastic project, giving young people with an interest in business the chance to gain practical experience. UKSE is proud to support initiatives that encourage young people to think about starting their own business and I wish all those taking part the very best of luck.”

Through working with organisations, students gain knowledge of how business works, the language used and the skills required. The candidates also learn important skills for real-world employment such as researching, teamwork and communication, taking direction, problem solving and creative thinking.

Helen Salt, director of Bright Yellow Thinking, added: “The Inspiring Enterprise Challenge is a thorough and hands-on approach which provides students with an insight into the life of a real entrepreneur.

“At the end of the two weeks, we expect to see candidates growing in confidence and having developed important employability and entrepreneurial skills that may help them to consider starting their own business in the future. All participants will be given feedback from the businesses involved, and will be able to take advice on board when pursuing any future ventures.

“We’re incredibly grateful to UKSE for their funding, which we couldn’t run this programme without.”