Skills Challenges are where a business might bring a live brief into the classroom or set up a skills based task either in the classroom or at the workplace. Examples of previously delivered skills challenges include businesses setting students the task of coming up with a marketing plan for a new campaign, or asking IT students to design a new platform or come up with app ideas for the business.

Practicing what we preach, we here at the Bucks Skills Hub engaged some students at the Buckinghamshire UTC, to design the interface for a new student facing app which listed work experience, part-time work, and apprenticeship opportunities. The students were given four weeks to devise their solutions, and developed their presentation and communication skills by presenting back their ideas to our team. From this challenge we were able to access direct feedback and ideas from our target audience, our ultimate end-user, to take forward in to the development stage.

In addition to live brief challenges, a business can devise an activity or project which develops specific work skills. This can be done by setting students a task (often a competitive, team based project) in which they will be required to learn, develop and display different skills in order to succeed. A successful recent example is the Silverson Challenge, whereby five teams of three year 10 students worked with full time apprentices using real machinery and tools to build the highest performing Da Vinci catapult. Silverson are looking to recruit locally and after this challenge applications for the apprenticeship scheme are double what they were last year. Many more businesses are now considering challenges such as this to raise awareness of their businesses locally and enhance their recruitment strategy. If you would like to discuss some ideas, do not hesitate to get in touch.

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