This year our National Careers Challenge is more exciting than ever!

Our programmes are packed with real employer challenges, set by REAL employers with different tasks aimed at each year groups, and all encouraging the use of key employability skills. 

What is the National Careers Challenge?

The National Careers Challenge is the UK’s largest careers and enterprise competition and provides students aged 11–15 with a real-life business challenge set by some real life businesses. Our in-school delivery team are experienced in getting the very best out of your students and have delivered our challenges to 1000’s of schools already. 

Your students will compete in teams across their year group with their unique responses to the challenges, and will be encouraged to work as a team, communicate, problem solve, think creatively, and more to ensure they meet the brief set by the client.

The Challenges are specifically targeted for each year group from designing a brand new ride experience with Thorpe Park, to creating a brand new product using recycled gas cylinders from Air Products.

All participating schools will win a place at the live finals at the ICC in Birmingham on 7th July 2022 – where they will battle it out to be crowned the WINNER of The National Career Challenge 2022. 

The Challenges

This years challenges have been set by some of the UK’s largest employers, and we’re really excited to bring to you: 


Sustainability & STEM Challenge

Year 7

Working in teams, students must create a brand-new product that uses recycled Air Products cylinders and tanks. These cylinders and tanks have a working life of just 20 years. After this period, as a result of British regulations, these cylinders and tanks currently become redundant.

During the day, students will identify current environmental issues, before identifying a potential new use for the tanks and cylinders which could help to address one of these issues. Students will create a brand identity for their new product and will consider how they will market and sell their new product before pitching their ideas to the judging panel.

The challenge will help students to develop their STEM skills as well as promoting key skills such as problem solving, teamwork and communication.

Theme Park Challenge

Year 8

Sponsored by Thorpe Park – The UK’s most thrilling theme park!

Students are challenged to design a brand-new ride or attraction for Thorpe Park where the queue line is an integral part of the ride experience.   Students can choose any theme for their new ride or attraction, but it must provide visitors with a ‘Feel Good Fun’ adventure that they have never experienced before! Students will be asked to identify a target customer for their attraction before creating a design concept and back story for their ride. Students will consider how they would brand their new ride and how they would market it to their target market, including the use of celebrity endorsements. Students will also develop an idea for a new, associated product which could be sold in the Thorpe Park gift shop before pitching their ideas to the judging panel.

Social Enterprise Challenge

Year 9

Supported by Natwest’s Dream Bigger Programme, students will be challenged to create their own social enterprise to address a common issue affecting their daily life, their school, their family or their local community.

Working in teams, students will consider what it means to be entrepreneurial before considering what steps they could take to address to address the issues they have identified. Students will create their own social enterprise company, considering not only how their company would operate but also how they would market and promote their products or services to their target audience before pitching their business proposal to the judging panel.

The challenge will help students to develop their business and entrepreneurial skills as well as promoting key skills such as creativity, teamwork and communication.

Esports Digital Challenge

Year 10

Working in teams, students will look at all aspects of creating, designing and launching a new computer games concept.

Students will identify a target market before developing an idea for a brand new, downloadable computer game.  Students will consider all aspects of their game design, including characterisation, game play, cyber-security and add-ons before considering how they would promote their new game to their target audience. Students must also consider how they could capitalise on the growing appeal of Esports events to raise the profile of their game.

The challenge will help students to develop their entrepreneurial and digital skills as well as promoting key skills such as creativity, teamwork and communication.


We are pleased to announce that NOCN Group are the official skills partners for The National Careers Challenge for this year! Throughout the challenge days students will be reminded of the skills they are demonstrating and developing across the day  via a series of video’s alongside the challenges. NOCN will be highlighting transferable skills employers are looking for, why they are important, and how you can continue the development of these skills throughout school.


All challenges are mapped to GATSBY BENCHMARKS

You can explore our other programmes here.


Planning your day

Our school engagement team is on hand to discuss all your requirements for an innovative drop down careers and enterprise day. We have options for schools to deliver the activities themselves using our virtual platform or book our experienced facilitators to run the day for you! 

The great news is that we are committed to working with schools to ensure their careers and enterprise experience runs smoothly, and that students leave the sessions engaged, inspired and motivated! 

Talk to us now


A focus on careers

Our programmes are the start of an exciting journey for your students, encouraging the use of employability skills like creative thinking, problem solving, and teamwork. 

This year we are focused on the total career journey, and not just a solus enterprise day. Students will be required to build on these skills over their school lives and start thinking about their future. That’s why we are so pleased to announce that all schools taking part in The National Careers Challenge will also receive complimentary access to Launch Your Career – the UK’s fastest growing search and discovery careers platform.

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Don’t take our word for it – hear from our schools!