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Pupils win favour from city’s ‘Dragons’

On 2 December, two teams of students entered the ‘Dragons Den’ to pitch their project ideas to senior business leaders from across the city.

The students are representing St Mary Redcliffe 6th Form in the inter-school competition The Community-Apprentice. Loosely based on the TV show the Apprentice, teams of young people compete to develop, and crucially demonstrate, their skills whilst managing their own projects. But in this case, they compete not to see who can make the most money, but who can make the biggest positive impact on their community.

The programme allows pupils to tackle real life challenges which require them to manage risk and to develop their decision making, team building and problem solving skills. Our lucky students are being mentored through the programme by Clarke Willmott, a national law firm with over 500 lawyers and support staff. The mentors are helping students to reflect on the skills they are developing through their projects, such as organisation and problem solving and explore how these are relevant to the world of work.

A key focus for the students through the autumn term has been developing their communication skills. Students have had to identify an issue which concerns them in the community and explain why this matters in a film which must be no more than two minutes long and filmed in a single take.


Team Together are concerned about the mental health of children and young people. Here's their film:



Team ROOF are concerned about the growing number of homeless people on the streets of Bristol.  You can watch their film next:



Students have subsequently had to work together as a team to develop a plan for what they want to do to tackle the issue they have chosen.  


On 2 December the teams took part in the pitching challenge which was held in the impressive surroundings of The Grand Hotel, Bristol. 18 teams from 9 schools across the city took part, giving students the opportunity to watch each other to help them learn what makes a successful pitch.


The pitch


Students were pitching for grants for their projects and feedback and advice from dragons about how they can make their projects most successful. Our teams were up in front of dragons from law firm Veale Wasbrough Vizards, Warburtons, Noma Architects, Santander and UWE.


Receiving the cheque


The dragons were impressed with the teams’ pitches and awarded both teams the full £100 each to help execute their project. The teams will now be able to use this funding to get their projects off the ground, and ensure the greatest possible positive impact on their community. They will also be needing to manage their budget and develop solid planning and execution of their projects, thereby gaining skills which enable pupils gain the confidence to compete in the labour market by providing opportunities to gain the practical know how and attributes that are relevant for employment.