Bicester schools and businesses come together to support youth enterprise

More than 200 pupils from across Bicester have learnt more about the world of business during a youth enterprise day this week.

Companies from both the public and private sector gave up their time and shared their expertise for the event at The Cooper School on Thursday 4 July.

As part of the day, members from Cherwell’s Healthy Bicester team gave Year 10 and Year 12 students the task of marketing the outdoor gym equipment installed at Garth Park and Spider Park (off Keble Rd), as well as the digitised work-out apps, and then asked each group to pitch their ideas.

Over the course of the day, students from multiple schools worked together in mixed teams while taking part in Young Enterprise’s Launch Pad programme. Through a series of hands on, fun activities students worked on the early stages of launching a fledgling business, balancing a budget as well as creating a brand identity and marketing strategy.

Guest speakers Matt and Sarah Jaycock, founders of High Spec Composites and successful entrepreneurs in Bicester, spoke to students about their unusual pathways into business and the soft skills they needed to succeed.

Guest speaker Andrew Langdale, founder and CEO of The Management Academy, spoke to the students about the skills that make effective leaders while the judging panel deliberated on award winning teams.

Andy Whittard, Managing Director of Cherwell Laboratories and Bicester-born businessman, was part of the judging panel and presented awards for Innovation, Teamwork, Marketing, Elevator Pitch and New Company of the Year.

The day was run by Young Enterprise, a national charity who aim to motivate young people to succeed in the world of work by equipping them with the skills, knowledge and confidence they need. It’s the first time pupils from Bicester Technical Studio, Bicester School and Cooper School have combined for such an event.

After the event, Mark Lambert of The Cooper School said: “My kids loved the day​. My Head of Post 16 said it was the best he’d ever seen​.[The] Head of Business said it had real links to all their studies and gave them a chance to practise theory from the classroom​. I say, very very relevant day for them all, loads of hidden learning going on and had a purposeful feel about the day. Guests speakers pitched it perfectly all bound up in a fun and accessible nature.”