Money-spinning festival ideas including GPS key-rings, chiller hats to cool drinks and glitter packs are helping North Wales teenagers to kick start their business careers.
The budding entrepreneurs from Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan in Abergele were tasked with designing products for an imaginary Glaston-gele festival.
The 17-year-olds had to create a product that would make money, plus design a festival website and map, before pitching their ideas to a Dragons’ Den style panel.
The challenge is part of the Welsh Baccalaureate (WBQ) course that the school’s sixth-formers are studying alongside their A Levels.
On Thursday December 1 teenagers planning to join Year 12, along with their families, can get a taste of what’s on offer, when the department throws open its doors from 6pm to 8pm.
Teachers will be on hand to talk about courses and options, including BTECH, WBQ and A Levels, discuss exam results and look forward to learners’ careers after school.
They will also meet those presently in Years 12 and 13 to discover at first-hand how they are enjoying their courses as well as sessions outside the classroom, such as mentoring younger learners.
Among them will be Amy Grant, Katie Farrall, Jack Huang, Emma Gizzi and Alex Wharton, who have all completed the first year entrepreneurial element of their vocational WBQ.
Katie, who is studying biology, physiology and health and social care, said: “We had to image there was a Glastonbury-type festival in Abergele, called Glaston-gele. We had to design products that we could produce and sell at the festival.
“However, it wasn’t just a simple task of developing the idea for a product, as everything had to be covered from design to marketing and cost to production. We then had to set up a stall to show off our products and explain what they were and how they worked.
“We all had very different ideas – I came up with the design for a GPS key ring so people could find their friends or families in a crowd, should they get lost or separated.”
Jack, who is studying maths, further maths, physics and history, said: “I came up with a festival pack which contained everything someone would need to make them comfortable, including a small tent, sleeping bag and dry shampoo.”
Alex, the school’s Head Boy who is studying biology, sports exercise and PE, said: “I decided on something a little off the wall and designed a hat with a small fridge on top to keep drinks cool, a fan to keep the hat wearer cool and a drinks’ holder on each side.
“There were so many really good ideas that came out of the exercise though, from Gelle-Wellies, bobble hats to the more serious designs. It was good fun and then, as part of the WBQ, we had to present our ideas before an assessment panel in a similar format to the Dragons’ Den show on TV.”
Amy, who is studying physiology, art and English, said: “My company was Conwy Cocktails, and my idea was to have a cocktail bar where people purchase the individual components of their preferred cocktail and then mix it themselves.
“We also created a website showing people where we could be found at the festival and exactly what products we had available.
“It really made us think and was a good exercise and gave us something to think about other than our respective A-level courses, which are quite intense. In this second year we are have to do an investigation and write a report on something connected to what we hope will be our future careers. I’m looking at crime and the physiology of young offenders as I eventually want to work in that field.
“We have a really good working relationship with the teaching staff. It’s friendly yet professional and they are all really approachable and we really do get all the support we need.
“Many of us work with younger learners and act as reading buddies to help with their literacy. The whole school is like one big family in many ways,” added said Amy, who is also a member of Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan’s choir.
The school’s Head Girl Emma Gizzi, who is studying English Language, drama and product design, said: “I called my company Twigs and Twinkies, and the idea was centred on a pack of products to give festival goers the right look. It included body paint, glitter and other cosmetic products.
“I have decided, although I want to work in performing arts, to do my investigation on the effects of Hirchsprung’s disease, an infection of the bowel which can lead to intestinal obstruction.”
She added: “It’s a brilliant school and the sixth form is really good. You have freedom but with that comes responsibilities. You won’t succeed if you don’t put the work in so self-discipline is really important.
“As head girl along with Alex, the school’s head boy, we run a peer mentoring group which is almost like a clinic. It means younger pupils who want to discuss any issue can come and sit down with us and talk.
“It may be something they feel embarrassed to talk to teachers, or even family, about but we will try and help and give advice although if it is an issue that needs to be reported we make it clear we will help them to do so.”
Head of Sixth Form John Seymour, who has taught chemistry at the school for 18 years, said: “The open evening is an opportunity to let prospective learners know what the entry criteria are and what will be required of them.
“A sixth form learner has to have to have a work ethic and fully apply themselves if they are to succeed.
“Most of our Year 12 and Year 13 learners have completed their GCSEs at the school but we do have some who come into our sixth form from other schools.
“I hope the open evening gives prospective learners an opportunity to look at what we can offer and whether it’s the right place for them to continue their education.”