West Coasters triumph in Young Enterprise awards

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Published Date: 

4 May 2017 - 15:42

A high school team of young entrepreneurs is in the national final of a major competition after triumphing in the regional heat.

Lochgilphead High’s West Coasters will compete against teams from across Scotland next month after their success in the Argyll and Bute final of Young Enterprise Scotland (YES) search for Company of the Year.

The YES company programme sees S5 and S6 pupils set up and run their own companies over the course of the school year.

This year two Argyll and Bute schools are taking part, Lochgilphead High and Dunoon Grammar School.

Lochgilphead have two teams – West Coasters and Droift – while Dunoon Grammar School’s company is Ma Jar Stick.

West Coasters have produced hand-designed framed artwork to sell, and their fellow pupils in Droift used seashells and driftwood from local beaches to create windchimes, wall hangings and necklaces.

At Dunoon Grammar, Ma Jar Stick made bespoke storage solutions by mounting jars on wooden bases.

All three competed in the regional final, held at the Inveraray Inn. Tasks were to write a company report, give a presentation to judges and guests and mount trade stands. Each company was also interviewed by the judges.

West Coasters took the honours for best overall company, best report and best display, and Ma Jar Stick won for best presentation.

Argyll and Bute Council chief executive Cleland Sneddon was among the guests at the final. He said: “Congratulations to West Coasters on being named overall winners, and well done to Ma Jar Stick and Droift on a remarkable effort.

“All our pupils have shown real innovation and creativity and showcased impressive entrepreneurial attitude.

“Taking part in the Young Enterprise company programme has helped our young people develop a wide range of skills that they can take on to the next stage of their lives.

“I look forward to following the progress of West Coasters and wish them all the very best for the final.”

Next step for the 11-strong West Coasters is the Scottish finals at Hampden Park on 6 June.

Pupils praised the programme, with West Coasters managing director, Chloe Fairman, saying: “I have enjoyed taking part and feel it has strengthened my understanding of business activities. It has also allowed me to develop my team working and problem-solving skills due to having a wide variety of personalities in the team and a few problems arising.”

Amy Thompson of Ma Jar Stick said: “The group had a lot of fun and it was a great learning experience. I would recommend that next year’s S6 take part in Young Enterprise as you learn a lot of transferable skills for the future.”

At Inveraray on the night, prizes were presented by the Duke of Argyll, Torquhil Ian Campbell, and judges were Kirsty Flanagan, Argyll and Bute Council’s head of strategic finance, and Douglas Melville, business adviser with Business Gateway. The event was sponsored by Business Gateway.