SCHOOLCHILDREN from across the region went head-to-head at the Stadium of Light yesterday in a battle to find the North East’s brightest budding business brain.
The Enterprise Academy challenge, now in its sixth year, is designed to develop links between football and education and sees students across the UK set a business-based problem to solve by Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore.
Local winners go on to a regional final, to be held at Stoke City’s Britannia Stadium, and the regional winners go through to the final, to be held in London.
Last year’s event was staged in the Houses of Parliament.
Teams from Shotton Hall Acadmey in Peterlee, Greenfield Community Academy in Shildon and Consett Academy took part in yesterday’s event, organised by the football club’s charitable arm, the Foundation of Light.
The Foundation delivers the Enterprise Academy challenge in schools throughout Sunderland, South Tyneside and County Durham.
Chris Towers heads up the foundation’s work on enterprise education. He said: “The Premier League chief executive Richard Scuadamore sets every club the same challenge, then we go into schools and launch it.
“The challenge this year was about putting new initiatives in place to increase family attendance at football games.”
The emphasis was on encouraging pupils to think for themselves and promoting co-operation.
“The set-up of the challenge is the only thing that comes from us,” said Chris.
“The pupils then have to work together and produce a presentation for the judges.”
This year’s judging panel was made up of Greg Robson, manager of the Learning Centre at Caterpillar’s plant in Peterlee, Sophie Hukin, director of Hukin Ltd, and Jane Moreland, partnership manager at Northumbria Water.
“The students gain increased confidence from standing up and making a presentation,” said Chris.
“Preparing their presentations allows them to learn about preparation, organisation and co-operation.”