In June, a number of Plastribution staff represented the ‘world of business’ at Ashby School, one of the highest performing state schools in Leicestershire; they were there to take part in the School’s annual Enterprise Challenge Event.

The Event, organised and supported by Loughborough University Schools Outreach Department, was the result of discussions between the school and Loughborough’s enterprise facility. With the involvement and direction of seven students from Loughborough University, Plastribution staff and senior school careers coordinators from the school, 571 year 10 pupils (ages 14-15) working in groups of 25 split into teams of 5, were asked to come up with a new healthy drink brand for Loughborough Sport. The drink brand, positioned as a social enterprise, had to have an original brand name, logo and slogan and would be sold at Loughborough University initially, rolling out nationally if successful.

Pupils had just over 2 hours to complete the task. Thereafter they had to deliver a 5 minute presentation, which had to include:

–       Product (ingredients, target audience, USP’s, packaging)

–       Promotion (brand, logo, advertise, sales promo’s)

–       Market Research (competitor’s suppliers etc)

–       Costs and Price (cost of production, selling price, profit margin)

–       Social enterprise element (what good cause are you supporting

Plastribution staff took part on the whole process, culminating in a judging process from which the overall winning, second and third place teams were selected.

Plastribution’s Martin White said: “I am sure I speak for the whole Plastribution team, when I say I found the Event to be a very positive experience. The imagination and standard of work from the pupils was truly impressive and they all behaved in a very friendly and courteous manner. It was nice to be able to have some constructive influence over their thinking process.”

Following the Event, Aimee Littler, head of careers at Ashby School said: “Feedback from both the members of staff and pupils was that the day was very enjoyable and rewarding, and that Plastribution’s assistance in the day helped guide our pupils in the task.

“There is also a huge importance in pupils liaising with individuals from the ‘world of work’, otherwise many pupils will not experience this until they are sat in their first job interview – which is then a little daunting.

“The judging process took a little longer than anticipated, largely due to the brilliant business expertise of those involved, the quality of discussion and the depth in which the judges had gone to understand the pupils work. Support from local businesses in projects like this is invaluable.”

Further co-operation between both parties continues, with Ashby School design and technology staff visiting Plastribution’s offices in due course, to look at ways that awareness of polymers can be increased within the department’s educational programme. Plastribution has also agreed to support the Enterprise Challenge Event again in 2015 and will participate in a careers evening in November.