On Tuesday 17th January, Mark Helliwell (Graduate Development Programme), Robyn Western (Marketing Assistant), Katie Swaine (Development Engineer) and Loren Carragher (HR Coordinator) visited Tiverton High School to run workshops for Year 8 students on how to create and market their products for the THS Dragons’ Den challenge.

The children were tasked with creating an idea for a brand new, useful invention that solves a problem, and to follow this by crafting a marketing campaign across social media and television that will promote their unique idea to their chosen target audience. Over the next few weeks, the 12-13 year old students will be working on cultivating their marketing campaigns, and creating their final presentations that will take place in front of the judging “dragons”. The final will take place over the 9th and 10th of February, when our Heathcoat Fabrics representatives will return to Tiverton High School to join the judging panel.

Mark and Loren presented on filling a gap in the market, and Katie and Robyn covered marketing and product knowledge. The Dragons’ Den challenge has been a great learning experience for those involved; the workshops enabled the staff involved to evolve and hone their presentation and public speaking skills through the novel experience of presenting to children rather than their peers – something the majority of our team had not done before and found both challenging and rewarding. Overall, the workshops seemed to be a success, with the children asking great questions and (hopefully) leaving with a bit more knowledge to help them out with their projects.

Natalie Westacott, a THS English teacher, sent a letter of thanks to those of us involved and commented that; “The students have been really buzzing and I know have taken on board lots of new tips and inspiration from the workshops given.

They really value meeting people from ‘the real world!’ and getting an insight into differing areas of business, and for us it is wonderful to then see them applying the knowledge from the workshops and to hear them referring to specific advice as they move on to planning their product and marketing campaign”.

Loren, Robyn and Mark also attended the Tiverton High School Employability Day on Tuesday 31st January; an all-day event working with Year 10s to prepare them for the working world. Employability Day included workshops on preparing for interviews, personal branding, company research and mock interviews. The day saw our staff practicing mock interviews with the 14-15 year old students, and witnessing first-hand the fantastic potential of the year 10’s and improvement of the classes throughout the day was enriching for everyone taking part.