In Skills

The largest ever Enterprise Education Challenge is planned to take place across the North East.

Launching on Friday 18th March the BIG PIE Friday Challenge, which is part of the Primary Inspiration through Enterprise (PIE) Project, will potentially see 250 Primary Schools in North Tyneside, Newcastle and Northumberland competing against one another.

Targeting 10 and 11 year olds this unique, exciting and ambitious Challenge will engage inspire and educate future generations in enterprise and Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) based activities.

The BIG PIE Friday Challenge will be delivered free to schools within three stages. The first being two timed activities on the morning of the 18th March to all of the schools that have signed up. Five schools from each area that are the quickest at completing the tasks will go through to the second stage where they will each undertake a full day of enterprise. The students will plan, create and sell something with support from local businesses, complete a formal qualification and then be judged purely on the profit they make.

The Challenge will ultimately culminate in an awards ceremony within Newcastle in June 2016.

The project helps young people realise their ambitions and aspirations, creating better life choices and improving life chances. By providing real enterprise experiences, including the opportunity to run a shop, the PIE Project brings education to life. With an ambitious aim to counteract the current negative misconception around education attainment within the North East and the lack of employer engagement, the project will platform the North East as a truly committed region investing in its future generations.

MD of Accenture Bob Paton CBE who is spearheading the campaign highlighted “The prosperity of our economy, the future skills of the workforce and the career prospects of young people are dependent on adequate and appropriate development opportunities and experiences being available to ensure individuals have the right skills and attributes to successfully enter the world of work.”

“There is significant evidence that suggests employers are suffering from a skills shortage and whilst there are a range of interventions providing Careers Information Advice and Guidance these tend to be focused on pupils aged 14 plus.”

“I want to help bring the whole community together for a common purpose creating a movement all around enterprise education. As an adroit campaigner of skills development and passionate about positively platforming the North East, I am spearheading the Campaign. I now need everyone to get behind this exciting initiative.“

Building on the significant success of the already established PIE Project (established in 2013 by Ammar Mirza CBE, Founder and Chairman of Asian Business Connexions) Ammar explains, “The project was launched in collaboration with Tyneview School where I am Chair of Governors, Walkergate School and supported by business leader Bill Midgley OBE.

“Four schools came together and established a corner shop that enabled pupils to experience enterprise activities first-hand. We engaged with businesses including Your Homes Newcastle, Leazes Homes, Northumbria Water and lots of local organisations who came into the schools and provided expert advice and guidance to the students.

“Since then the project has grown exponentially and there are two PIE Shops in Newcastle where students can experience planning, creating and selling things all supported by businesses. In an effort to formalise learning the students can now undertake an NCFE Qualification in Investigating Enterprise which is industry recognised and provides real currency for future employment.”

Ammar goes on to say, “The pupils go through real live enterprise activities including developing a CV, applying to become the shop manager for the day, together with being interviewed for the job. Developing a range of social and professional skills alongside developing their strengths and identifying their weaknesses, the pupils are ideally equipped to realise their aspirations.”

The unique aspect of the PIE Project is that it endeavours to promote all of the activities available to young people with the aim of ensuring every opportunity is offered to every child. Rather than a one size fits all approach the PIE Project works with the school and other similar initiatives to make sure the needs of the pupil and business opportunities are adequately and appropriately matched.

Working with all local businesses including Bob the Builder, Ed the Engineer, Sally the Solicitor the PIE Project ensures clear line of sight to local careers for pupils that can be influenced by local people.
Last year the activities were supported by Sir John Hall who the pupils studied as part of their qualification. Sir John presented the certificates to the students at a special assembly at Tyneview School and recognised their achievements, being the youngest pupils to undertake a formal vocational industry recognised qualification. HRH Princess Eugenie visited the schools and the PIE Shop to show Royal support and a PIE Conference was hosted by Newcastle University Business School.

This year the PIE Project wants to go bigger and reach the whole of the region. The BIG PIE Friday Challenge is supported by a range of partners and stakeholders, the competition will involve local businesses, parents of the pupils and the wider community. Working with Newcastle University, Newcastle College and NCFE to develop and deliver the Enterprise Challenges a whole host of organisations and media partners have already signed up committing both financial and physical resources. All of the local MPs have signed up to supporting the project and even the Armed Forces are involved.

The activities will clearly align to the North East LEPs Gatsby Career Information, Advice and Guidance Benchmarks and Enterprise Advisors initiative. This approach will make sure that the planned outcomes and outputs are successfully achieved and link to national standards.

Moving forward The BIG PIE Friday Challenge hopes that everyone will consider becoming part of and supporting the PIE Project to help influence and deliver enterprise education, together with career advice and guidance, in a collaborative and consistent way.

Bob encourages everyone to get involved, “I look forward to you supporting a truly inclusive, ambitious, fun and exciting Challenge that will significantly benefit our future generations showcasing the North East for being an amazing place.”

For further details/to register your interest email [email protected] or call Tony Stafford (Project Manager) on 0191 2424894.

Image credit: chroniclelive.co.uk

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