SIXTH formers found themselves on the crest of a wave after spending a day with industry mentors.

Young entrepreneurs from Barnard Castle School were asked to provide a marketing strategy that was all shipshape for a cruise line for young and old, complete with branding, a presentation, TV and radio ads, printed material and a social media campaign.

Year 12 students were guided by mentors including restaurateur Marcus Bennett, Sage consultant Esme Flounders, property manager Liz Rhodes, development directors Jack and Tom Atha, actuary Jonathan Crowther, antiques specialist Chris Ings and furniture boss, Richard Barker.

With an imagined budget of £100,000, they had to work out costings for a cruise holiday that would see 18-25 year-olds enjoying a rite of passage with top contemporary DJs and performers. One team opted for the 50-65 age group and set about preparing them for a cruise complete with a diet of Oasis and Mary Berry.

Organised for the 11th year running by business and computing teacher Nick Connor, the day-long event is designed to encourage entrepreneurial zeal and business acumen giving students a taste of working on an industry project.

He said: “The day is a springboard for the following employability week in which our students reap the benefits of work placements. The teams are encouraged to play to their strengths as they plan and present the creative material but also ensure the numbers add up.”

Last year’s winner Matthew Osborne joined a panel of judges scrutinising their efforts. He said: “I was inspired by the school industry day I attended and am now reading a business degree at Cardiff University which I am really enjoying. It has been fantastic being back at Barney and I’m sure the students got as much out of the day as I did.”

Judge feedback praised the students for their conceptual creativity, organisation and execution, presentation and IT skills, all set against the added pressure of working against the clock.

Winning team captain Kyle McKidd, 17, said: “Our team worked really well together to ensure all the tasks were carried out. We had technical issues but I was pleased with the way we responded and was delighted to take the win.”

His mentor Jonathan Crowther added: “It has been a wonderful event and the team were very easy to work with as they took on board the advice but also came up with their own clever ideas. I was impressed with how they learned new skills and were then able to use them in a commercial environment.”