inv1MEDAL winning Invictus Games athletes have been inspiring sixth formers as they gained their first taste of working in industry.

Year 12 students at Barnard Castle School compressed a week’s work into a matter of hours as they planned and delivered a marketing campaign for the injured servicemen’s games.

Working in teams, with a mentor from the private sector, the teenagers planned a marketing strategy complete with radio adverts, presentation and promotional materials.

Barnard Castle School’s new sixth form centre became a hive of industry with its hi-tech features being used to the full by 87 lower sixth students and 13 staff.

Invictus athletes Anna Kelton and Paul Nichol judged the closely fought competition, in which students followed a detailed brief giving them a true taste of the world of marketing consultancy.

A former student, Anna left Barnard Castle School in 2004 to join the military becoming a Royal Marines bandswoman and medic and transferring to the Royal Navy in 2010.

The following year she was badly injured in a training exercise and now uses a wheelchair. She holds two gold medals in endurance and sprint rowing from the Invictus Games, for which she is also an ambassador.

She said: “It is incredible to see the new sixth form centre and how it has developed from what used to be a playground. The school is also much more accessible for people with disabilities which is great and I was delighted to be involved helping the students get a taste of work-life.”

Paul, of Ashington, served in the Royal Army Medical Corp until he broke his back in a sporting accident. He now plays wheelchair rugby and holds a bronze team medal.

“The students came up with some fantastic ideas with which to market the games,” he said.

The event was support by Jack and Tom Atha, of Atha Developments, Tom Honeyman and Adam Gray, of Honeyman Group, Ian Beatie, a director of Barbour, John Hunter, an investment director with N M Rothchild and Co and Edwin Bartlett, CEO of Kykloud.

The winning team comprised of: Caroline Walden, Sophie Barnes, Aydan Reynard, Lexy Dalton, Lucy Newton, Amy Alderdice, Dominick Grazaedei, Jennifer Eckersley, Findley Edward and Molly Nixon.

Barnard Castle School’s business and IT teacher, Nick Connor said: “The students really threw themselves into the event and completed at least a week’s work in about five hours.

“The event helped our young people develop so many skills, from engendering teamwork and honing IT, to managing their time, coping with pressure and being creative.”

Student Fin Edward, 17, of Richmond, said: “The event gave us a real insight into the world of marketing and also a greater understanding of the Invictus Games, our armed forces and living with a disability.”

Ben Edwards, 17, of Wolsingham, added: “The industry day was great fun and generated a high level of pressure which can only help us as we continue our studies and consider career options. Having Anna here really helped us appreciate the issues our servicemen and women face on a daily basis.”