Over the last 7 weeks we have been working with 8 different schools and over 100 young people who have been taking part in the Make £1 Grow Challenge. Each school was given a different theme such as Hospitality, Textiles, Forestry, Sweet Treats, Photography, Music and Jewellery and they all had to develop their own mini business which had to be linked to the theme they were given. Over the last 7 weeks each school has been working towards selling their products or services on their own stall at the Skills to Shine Christmas Market in Manor Walks Shopping Center.

Skills to Shine has an initiative approach to learning which bridges the gap between education and business. We have a proven educational model that through project and enquiry based learning techniques introduces young people to the world of work whilst developing their core enterprise skills. So to launch each project we went into every school to meet the young people who were going to be taking part and set them the challenge of can they Make £1 Grow before then playing some team building games so everyone could understand the importance of team work and communication.

Each school then went on an inspirational trip which was linked to their theme to give them some ideas for their own business. We worked with many well known businesses such as Thornton’s, Ernest Jones, Theatre Royal, Nando’s, Davenport’s Chocolates, Fenwicks and YMCA Recording Studios. Going on trips to different business really inspires the young people and gives them an insight of how business operate especially behind the scenes that customers wouldn’t normally see.

Once the young people have come up with their business idea we like to bring in different business mentors to work alongside the young people and help guide them with the right decisions towards making their own business successful. We have worked with many different business mentors such as a Professional Musician, Professional Photographer; Print Maker, Professional Film Maker and Professional Creative Dance Coach.

Once all the young people had decided on what products or services they were going to sell they needed to come up with their own business name before they could then start advertising their business to ensure as many people as possible knew their stall would be at the Skills to Shine Christmas Market.

The market was held on Thursday the 15th of December at Manor Walks Shopping Center in Cramlington. The day was a huge success and every school made a profit. The young people really enjoyed having their own stall and they were full of confidence talking to members of the public and explaining the challenge they had been set. It was a great day to end the school term and everyone young person wanted the project to continue.

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