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You're hired! Ashville pupils in the business of winning

Ashville College's Luminate team.

Lord Sugar may have chosen his winner for BBC's The Apprentice, but Ashville College could well boast a few budding entrepreneurs who could give Harrogate gym owner Rachel Woolford a run for her money.

A total of 15 Lower Sixth Formers from the town’s Ashville College formed two teams to participate in this year’s LEAP challenge.

The programme run by the registered charity encourages pupils to set up their own firms, raise their own share capital, make or choose a product, formulate a business plan and then market their wares so they sell as much as they can.

But it’s not just about a quick profit - along the way, young participants learn skills preparing them for later life and perhaps a slot of their own on The Apprentice in years to come.

Back in September, Ashville’s entrants founded Zeda Accessories, a jewellery business, and Luminate, who purchased and sold neon lights. Since then, they’ve encountered and worked around many of the issues any new business may face.

Zeda chose to pitch their first stall at the Ashville College Bonfire Night, which offered team members opportunities to learn more about time management, staff and product resources.

However, both teams were also represented at the LEAP Christmas and Valentine Trade Fairs held at the Merrion Centre in Leeds, taking early starts, cold conditions, poor footfall and reluctant purchasers in their stride.

Luminate won second prize for their performance at the Christmas fair, although both groups upped their game considerably for the second in February.

But it was Luminate’s sales in school which boosted revenue to over £1,000 and solid presentations at the LEAP Awards Evening at Allerton High School netted them a total of four prizes - best logo, best 30-second video advert, best marketing and best company report – as well as the accolade of the 2024 overall winners.

Ashville’s Future Ready Co-ordinator, Judith Grazier, said all 15 pupils who took part in the 2024 LEAP challenge should be proud of what they achieved:

“From a cohort of 24 companies and 230 students, Luminate deserve to be delighted with their success – but it’s not all about winning.

“All of the participants took part with energy, commitment and resilience and they have all learned something about themselves, whether it be their tenacity, their ability to encourage others, to set priorities, or overcome problems and challenges.

“Each one of them can be very proud of their performance this year. Their experiences will provide practical examples of their strengths and the manner in which they can add value to any future environment. It has been an absolute pleasure to work with both companies this year; they have truly been an excellent cohort!”

Head of Ashville College, Rhiannon Wilkinson, added:

“We’re delighted all of our students have not only had the opportunity to learn that skill through the LEAP programme, but have also enjoyed the rewards which come hard work and commitment.

“Academic success is important, but it doesn’t necessarily define us for the rest of our lives.

"It’s programmes like LEAP which help to ensure pupils leave Ashville with experience in listening and speaking, problem-solving and creativity, aiming high and staying positive, leadership and teamwork - all fundamental to our own Future Ready programme.”

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