30,000 pupils compete to be crowned National Champions with The National Enterprise Challenge

This academic year has been challenging for all involved, however The Inspirational Learning Group (TILG) has risen to the challenge and delivered The National Enterprise Challenge in partnership with Air Products and sponsored by NatWest to over 200 secondary schools.

For the second year running, The National Enterprise Challenge held their annual finals event online, engaging with over 30,000 pupils across the UK. The challenges set by Air Products and NatWest have provided pupils the opportunity to develop their communication, teamwork and enterprise skills – key skills required to excel in the world of work.

Using a hybrid approach of face-to-face and virtual delivery using the #TILGVirtual platform, the 20/21 academic year has been arguably the most successful year for the company.  TILG were delighted to welcome back multi-national PLC, Air Products to sponsor the Key Stage 3 challenge with high street bank, NatWest sponsoring the Key Stage 4 challenge for the first time.  The finals event which was due to be held at the ICC in Birmingham, took place virtually for the second year with over 1000 pupils tuning into the live stream on Thursday 15th July.

English television and radio presenter, Konnie Huq, led the proceedings with an interview with Community and STEM Ambassador for Air Products Lynn Willacy and the opportunity to catch up with last year’s winning ideas from Walton Priory Middle School and Bourne Academy.

It’s no secret that the standard of pupil’s entries grow in ambition and quality each year and 2021 has been no exception.  After hours of deliberation, team Green Beam from Channing School were crowned Key Stage 3 champions with Whitley Bay High School and their idea The Middle Man scooped national champion status for Key Stage 4.

Co-founder of TILG, Michael Dyer said, “We’ve been absolutely blown away by the standard of the entries this year and whilst we were sad that we couldn’t have an in-person event for the second year running, seeing the enthusiasm of the students, definitely put a smile on our faces. The finals was another huge success and that is down to the teachers and students who put so much hard work into the challenges, so a massive thank you must go to them. We’re keeping everything crossed that we can host our 10th year celebrations next year and make the finals event bigger and better than ever before.”

Lynn Willacy, Community & STEM Ambassador, UK and Ireland said: “Air Products is very proud to help ‘Inspire the next generation’ by sponsoring the National Enterprise Challenge again this year. All the finalists who submitted their ideas for the Air Products STEM challenge, which focusses on sustainability, were of such a high standard that our judges found it very hard to choose the overall winner. The range of different and innovative ideas submitted by the students definitely shows that they will be our scientists and engineers of the future.  Well done to Channing School who were crowned the overall winners!”

Julie Baker, Head of Enterprise for NatWest said: “We’re passionate supporters of enterprise and committed to providing opportunities for people of all ages in the UK.  Through our existing initiatives such as Moneysense and Dream Bigger and the recently launched CareerSense, aimed at improving employability prospects for young people in the UK aged 13-24,  through partnering on programmes such as the National Enterprise Challenge, we’re supporting young people as they prepare to take their first or next steps into entrepreneurship.  Whether it’s skills development and further education or motivation, confidence and resilience, we’re proud to be unlocking potential and making a difference.  It has been an incredible honour being involved in the judging process. There were some very difficult conversations had around the table as the standards were so high from all the finalists. After much deliberation, we would therefore like to congratulate the winning team from Whitley Bay High School and we very much look forward to continuing to support them on their journey.”

Alongside crowing national champions, the following awards were also given out…

Most Enterprising Girl – Key Stage 3

Faith Smith – Burton Borough High School

Most Enterprising Boy – Key Stage 3

Shannyn Hyde – Wymondham High Academy

Most Enterprising Girl – Key Stage 4

Nshira Adeji – Devonport High School for Girls

Most Enterprising Boy – Key Stage 4

Ethan Wenham – Medina College

Most Enterprising Teacher

Victoria Kerr – St Thomas More Catholic Academy

Most Enterprising School

Beckfoot Upper Heaton School

The TILG team are now busy planning 2021/22 challenges and are gearing up to hold the 10th finals event at The ICC in Birmingham next July.

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