Over 60 students from six secondary schools in Somerset have taken part in the region’s largest ‘inter-school challenge day’, organised by property development company, Summerfield, in conjunction with national charity, Young Enterprise.
Held at Victoria House in Taunton, the day-long challenge on 12 June 2014, gave students a real-life insight in to developing a residential housing site, with teams of 14 and 15-year-olds tackling a range of business-related challenges faced in the housing market.
With staff from Bishop Fox’s School co-ordinating the schools in the run up to the event, students taking part from Taunton-based Bishop Fox’s School, Castle School and Taunton Academy, were joined by students from the Blue School in Wells and Wadham School in Crewkerne. The teams worked on topics including planning permission, types of development, property design, and sales and marketing with support from industry volunteers.
The students had their own teachers on hand throughout the day, in addition to students from Somerset College of Arts and Technology who were working with the teams having recently completed their studies in Business Management, Level 3. A range of industry experts volunteered their time to provide advice and judge the competition, including Nigel Pearce, an architect from Pearce Practice, Robin Upton a planning expert from White Young Green, and Karen Morledge from Plum Communications & PR who advised on marketing and PR. In addition, a four-strong team from Summerfield to complement the private sector volunteers, Matt Parr and Bryn Kitchin from Taunton Deane Borough Council’s Economic Development and Property Services teams respectively, also gave practical advice throughout the day.
James Holyday, Summerfield’s divisional director who hosted the event at Victoria House, said:
“I was delighted with the outcomes from this event and to see so many young people taking this opportunity to immerse themselves in an authentic business scenario. The students all came up with some great creative ideas and high-quality results. They should all be very proud of their achievements on the day and I’m sure some of them could go on to have a career in the property industry.”
The event culminated in the students giving presentations that outlined their proposed new housing development. A team from The Blue School in Wells were selected as the overall winner by the judging panel and were given goody bags and certificates, with teams from Bishop Fox’s and Wadham School being highly commended.
Jane Burden, the Co-ordinator for Young Enterprise in the Somerset area, commented:
“For a second year, Summerfield has done an amazing job of organising such a professional and interactive event, and Young Enterprise has been delighted with the results again. Summerfield is one of 3,500 organisations that freely give of their time and expertise to provide life skills, confidence and an insight to business environments, to help students in future.”