Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) has announced the return of its Real Business Challenge for the twelfth year running.
The national enterprise competition is celebrating its most successful year yet, with more than 870 secondary schools across 11 regions in Great Britain competing in a series of challenges, which put students’ business skills and creativity to the test.
The competition will see student teams tasked with designing a litter awareness campaign which encourages members of the public in their local area not to litter.
To support the challenge, CCE is this year partnering with a number of industry campaign groups, including Keep Scotland Beautiful; Keep Wales Tidy; Hubbub, and Clean Up Britain (CLUB).
Representatives from these and other bodies will be on hand during the competition’s regional and grand final stages, dispensing expert advice to the students.
CCE’s Real Business Challenge aims to inspire and educate young people, giving them the opportunity to participate in hands-on activities designed to develop the skills they need to have a competitive edge in the job market.
Growing from strength to strength, the number of schools entering the competition has almost tripled over the past four years, with the competition now reaching close to 89,000 students.
Beginning this week, regional, Wales and Scotland finals will run between January 28 and February 11, to determine which teams go through to the Grand Final in London on March 16.
Grand finalists will also participate in a Parliamentary Reception at the House of Commons, where they will present their litter campaign ideas to a host of MPs, including Stephen Crabb, Secretary of State for Wales.
The challenge forms part of CCE’s education programme, The Real Experience, which also includes factory based Education Centres for school groups at all six of its manufacturing sites across the country.
The business has invested £4m in education over the past five years and has reached more than 390,000 young people to date across the nation.
Education programme manager at CCE GB, Gina Solimeno commented: “The Real Business Challenge continues to go from strength to strength, and we are proud to help give young people vital ‘hands-on’ business experience through this programme.
“Education forms an important part of our Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability commitments at CCE and we have worked hard to develop an initiative for students to increase employability and practice a wide range of business skills.
“This year’s challenge supports another core part of our sustainability work in GB which is focused on minimising our business’ impact on the environment.
Chief executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful, Derek Robertson said: “The enthusiasm of the young people taking part truly inspired me. All those who presented their innovative ideas did so in a very professional way; they were a credit to their schools and to our country.
“Connecting young people across education, business, civic society and community contexts, mobilises youth action and decision making, and supports the formation of key skills for living, learning and working in a complex and changing world.”