Two students from Coleg y Cymoedd's Nantgarw and Ystrad Mynach campuses celebrate being in the winning team of “Apprentice” style Trading Places.
Students from six colleges across South East Wales have proved themselves to be the entrepreneurs of the future after successfully developing and running their own pop up shop in one of Cardiff’s iconic shopping destinations. The final day of the cross-college “Trading Places” competition was launched in spectacular fashion at 1 Royal Arcade in Cardiff, on Thursday 13th February 2014.
The three–day challenge, developed by First Campus at the University of South Wales, in partnership with the SE Wales FE Enterprise hub and the Morgan Quarter supported by the Welsh Government’s Big Ideas Wales, helped the youngsters understand how they can become entrepreneurs by developing their “big ideas”. It began with 36 students from six colleges across South East Wales, who met for the first time at the University of South Wales’ ATRiuM facility on Tuesday 11th February. The students were split into six teams, with at least one representative from each college per team. Having enjoyed a range of ice-breaker and team building activities, the teams then got down to work with representatives from Business in Focus and Natwest, putting together a presentation outlining their USPs, sales skills and team strengths in preparation for their meeting with the ‘Bank Manager’.
In true “Apprentice” style, the tension was high as teams competed, on a first come, first serve basis, to get the products they wanted to sell in the pop-up shop. To celebrate Valentine’s Day, some of these products were romantically themed, enabling shoppers to purchase last minute gifts for that special person in their life.
The pop-up shop opened for business on Thursday 13th February and competition was fierce from the outset! Local businesses and members of the public were invited to come along and support this innovative venture and view the products on offer from each of the teams. All teams worked extremely hard with the total sales figures amounting to £1,128.88 (almost double last year's amount).
Team Cariad which included representatives from Bridgend College, Cardiff and Vale College, Coleg Gwent, College Merthyr Tydfil, Coleg y Cymoedd and St David’s College) won the competition based on their overall achievement, their effective business management skills and the teamwork displayed throughout the course of the project.
Andrew Tummon, Relationship Manager with NatWest Business Banking, said: "This was a fantastic event to be involved with. NatWest is working hard to encourage a more entrepreneurial culture in our community, and helping students build their skills and talents in this area is key to this. All the students worked tremendously hard over the three days and it was hugely rewarding to work with them as they developed and implemented their business plans. It was extremely difficult to choose a winning team but Team Cariad were particularly innovative in the way they developed their business plan and importantly how they adapted their sales strategy and pricing policy as the final day unfolded."
Coleg y Cymoedd Ystrad Mynach campus student Melissa Francis, a member of Team Cariad said, "Winning Trading Places felt really rewarding; it was a challenging project enabling us to have an experience to see what running your own business felt like. At first it was about building your team’s strength but then everyone's competitive side showed, I would recommend it to anyone. It wasn't what I expected it was better!”
Coleg y Cymoedd Nantgarw campus learner Claudia Price was a member of the team that made the biggest profit on the day. She said: “I was really looking forward to selling, especially as it was the 13th February, the perfect opportunity to sell Valentines related products. Trading Places was a fantastic opportunity to open doors for me and to boost my CV. I want to open my own nursery in the future so gained a lot from the business aspect of this project. It was really helpful learning to manage money and receiving advice from companies such as Natwest. It feels amazing to be part of the team that made the most money.”
Chris Webb, Family Learning and Further Education Coordinator at First Campus commented; “First Campus aims to raise awareness and aspirations of Higher Education. We hosted the training days at the University of South Wales to give them a taste of university life and to make sure they leave knowing university is an option for them. Students are asking questions about Higher Education and their options for the future, they are keen to find out more, and I think that this project has worked fantastically”.