North East Connected

Sunderland students rise to business challenge

Vicki Manghan from day sponsors Calsonic Kansei with winning team from St Robert of NewminsterA 360 degree, in-car camera which will help car drivers capture evidence in the case of an accident, helped a Sunderland school scoop a major award.

Pupils at St Robert of Newminster Catholic School, Washington came up with the idea for the Business Schools Challenge, which took place on the final day of this year’s Work Discovery Week (15 July).

And their proposal so impressed a panel of judges that they were announced overall winner at the event, which took place at the Stadium of Light.

Eight schools took part in the challenge, which asked them to create a new product or service.

Ideas ranged from an in-car breathalyser to a gadget which would allow battery charge to be transferred between devices to a healthy breakfast muffin for people on the go.

Other projects put forward included a Virtual Individual Control Interface (VICI) which allowed housebound people to send someone shopping on their behalf but with the opportunity for them to see the items on the shelves.

The runner-up prize was awarded to Southmoor Academy for their app, Intervice, which helped job hunters with a range of support services covering everything from what to do at an interview to what to wear.

The young people presented before a business panel which included representatives from day sponsor, Calsonic Kansei along with other Work Discovery Week sponsors from Gentoo, Unipres, University of Sunderland, Sunderland College, Northern Print Solutions, Make It Sunderland and the North East LEP.

Paul McEldon, co-chair of Work Discovery Week who was also on the panel said the young people were extremely impressive.

“Some of the ideas they came up with were astonishing,” he said.

“It would have been daunting for many adults to stand up in front of the panel to present, along with them having to take questions from the floor.

“They were so confident and we were all absolutely overwhelmed with the amount of work and research which went into their submissions.”

The challenge was the final event in this year’s Work Discovery Week, with more than 1000 pupils having been involved across the week.

Work Discovery Week forms part of the year-long Work Discovery Sunderland programme which includes specific sector days and guest speaker days.

The event was sponsored by a range of key businesses including Accenture, Nissan, the University of Sunderland, Sunderland College and Make It Sunderland, along with Arriva, Unipres, Calsonic Kansei, Gentoo, Leibherr UK, North East LEP, the Bridges and Northern Print Solutions.

SAFC, NECC and Sunderland City Council are also key partners of the Work Discovery Sunderland programme.

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