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Young business boffins from North Staffordshire high schools win special awards

“It’s a very high-profile event, and the standard keeps on getting higher every year"

Budding business boffins from high schools across the area were recognised at the North Staffordshire Area Finals of Young Enterprise awards in Hanley’s Mitchell Arts Centre for their work in setting up their own money-making ideas.

Local business leaders provided crucial advice and mentoring skills along the way as part of the Company Programme competition.

The overall prize was won by Little Helping Hand, a group of Wolstanton High School pupils who created books to encourage young children to learn more about nature.

Little Helping Hand also won awards for their company report, trade fair stand and presentation, while other groups and teachers were hailed for their hard work, innovative products and creative productions.

Gizmo Gadgets, from St Joseph’s College in Trent Vale, scooped the innovation prize, while Team Worx, from Blackfriars Special School in Newcastle, picked up the production award.

Alan Aston, head teacher of Wolstanton High School, said he was thrilled to see Little Helping Hand scoop four awards, including Company of the Year, carrying on the school’s fine tradition in the competition.

He said: “We’ve got a very good record, and have won three of the regional Company of the Year awards in the last four years, and this is another great moment for us.

“It’s a very high-profile event, and the standard keeps on getting higher every year – all of the groups were excellent, and everyone was recognised as a business rather than just a school project.”

Richard Swancott, chairman of the Young Enterprise North Staffordshire area board, said: “It’s been a fantastic event, and the teams have been absolutely brilliant. We’ve got high hopes for Little Helping Hands in the regional and national shows, and we’re glad to see how everyone involved has learned so much about running a business from taking part in the competition. We have some talented young people in North Staffordshire and should be very proud of them.”

Janis Wilcox, Young Enterprise’s manger for North Staffordshire, Stafford and Stone, said: “The standard of the entries has been really good. There have been a lot of innovative projects and products, and the creativity from the pupils has been really excellent.

“We hope that next year we will be able to keep on expanding and get even more schools involved. The event is going from strength to strength, and we’re keen to get as many people taking part to celebrate all the vibrant talent we have.”

David Astill, from Strathmore College, has volunteered with Young Enterprise for more than 10 years. He said: “It really gives students some tremendous real-life experience of the business world. This work teaches you things no classroom could, and its’s a testament to the students’ abilities.”

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