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26th April 2018

A team of budding entrepreneurs from Newcastle College have won The National Skills Challenge – landing themselves a prestigious internship at NatWest Headquarters (HQ).

The team ‘Flash’, which comprised of A Level Business students Joseph Peake, Harvie Lyons and Filomena Kotomaukaciwa, were among nine teams, supported by Higher Horizons+ at Staffordshire University to take part in the challenge which was organised by The Inspirational Learning Group in partnership with NatWest.

Two Newcastle College teams were invited to take part in The National Skills Challenge finals at NatWest HQ in London on Tuesday 24 April – both of which made it through to the final six.

As part of the competition, students were asked to pitch their business idea using only the resources available at the College. They then had to showcase who their target customer is, what market they’ll be competing in, produce a brand identity and create marketing and communications plan.

Following a morning of judging, just six finalists were selected to pitch their ideas to an audience of 150 people. Team ‘Flash’ wowed judges and the audience with their college phone charging service and their plans around how they would implement this service for students studying at Newcastle College.

Judges at the competition finals included Paul Fletcher, Director at UCFB at Turf Moor, Donna Wise, Recruitment Manager at Screwfix and Nick Howe, Enterprise Manager at Nat West.

Mandi Marks, Head of A Level Business at Newcastle College, said: “I’m so proud of my students achievement. They have worked really hard on their business idea and clearly identified who their target customer is, the market they’ll be competing in and how they will market and brand the service to the desired consumer, which was the brief set by The National Skills Challenge. Events like this are very important for developing business knowledge but more importantly the working in a team and presentation skills that these students will need when they leave education and enter the real business environment.”

As part of their prize, the three students will now complete a one week internship at NatWest HQ and will see first-hand how a major UK financial institution works on a day-to-day basis.

Hosting the competition finals was actor, Ceallach Spellman, who currently stars in the hit ITV drama-comedy series, Cold Feet, and delivering a motivational talk to competitors and audience members was Sunday Times bestselling author, Richard McCann.

Helen Norman, from Higher Horizons+ at Staffordshire University, said: “Higher Horizons is all about raising aspirations and we were incredibly proud to witness our teams grow in confidence as they progressed from the classroom, through the regional heats held at Staffordshire University, to the finals.”

“We had a fantastic day and we were delighted and very proud that the College were announced as overall winners.”

The UK’s largest enterprise and employability competition, The National Skills Challenge, also saw Newcastle College students Brandon Croft, Oliver Nixon and Shaun Gibbs compete in the competition and present their business idea, The Gordon Banks College Cup (GBCC), a multi-college 5-a-side tournament calling upon teams from college and school communities.

Newcastle College offers a large range of Business and Business-related courses including A Levels in Business, Accounting, Politics, Law and Economics as well as a number of full-time vocational courses and part-time and university-level qualifications.

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