Pupils from across Ballymena sampled the world of enterprise at an event that brought the education and business communities together to inspire a culture of entrepreneurship for young people.
Michelin Development, supported by Young Enterprise NI and Ballymena Business Centre, hosted the Junior Apprentice competition, an action-packed day dedicated to giving youngsters a flavour of the business world in a real life setting.
Eight schools from the Ballymena Learning Together Zone took part in the event held at The Braid Town Hall. Local business leaders from across the region also gave their time to coach the young people and offer support.
Four pupils from each school were given expert tips before setting out in the town with a budget of £150. Their aim, through negotiation on price, was to purchase as many items as possible from a pre-defined list of goods that would be of benefit to their school.
The teams purchased their chosen items from local traders in Ballymena Town Centre, using their powers of negotiation to get the best deal possible. All goods purchased were retained by their school.
Afterwards, the teams returned to The Braid to report on their results and present their purchasing strategy, negotiating tips and outcomes to the audience and a panel of judges.
The best negotiators award, for achieving the greatest discount on the items purchased, went to St. Patrick’s College, with Slemish College in runner up position, and St. Louis Grammar a very close third.
The best presentation award went to Cullybackey College, with Dunclug College in runner up position.
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council Mayor, Maureen Morrow, spoke to the pupils at the start of the event and presented the awards at the end of the day.
Cllr Morrow said: “I was thrilled to see representatives from so many schools taking part.
“The young people practised team-working, strategizing, negotiating and presenting, all skills which are essential for running a business and entering the workplace.
“I’d like to commend the pupils who took part, their teachers and the volunteers from banks and other businesses who gave their time and expertise to ensure the event was a success.”
This was the first time Michelin Development has held the Junior Apprentice contest.
Noel Mulholland, Michelin Development’s business manager in Ballymena, said: “The pupils worked hard and were absolutely brilliant to work with.
“Their confidence grew throughout the day and I think it was an invaluable exercise for them all.
“Longer term sustainability of economic growth will depend on future generations taking up the challenge of running a business in a fast-changing modern world and, with everyone’s support, The Junior Apprentice provided a great opportunity to encourage young people to take up that challenge.”
Pictured are the winners of best negotiators award, St. Patrick’s College
Pictured are the winners of the best presentation award, Cullybackey College
Pupils from St. Louis Grammar get the deal done in Ballymena for the Junior Apprentice contest
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- Michelin, the leading tyre company, is dedicated to sustainably improving the mobility of goods and people by manufacturing, distributing and marketing tyres for every type of vehicle. It also offers innovative business support services, digital mobility services and publishes travel guides, hotel and restaurant guides, maps and road atlases.
Headquartered in Clermont-Ferrand, France, Michelin is present in 170 countries, has 112,300 employees and operates 68 production plants in 17 countries. The Group also has a Technology Centre, responsible for research and development, with operations in Europe, North America and Asia. (www.michelin.com)
- Michelin Development aims to contribute to the economic regeneration and long-term prosperity of the regions in which its sites are and have been located, by supporting the regeneration of the local business community.In Ballymena, Michelin has been part of the local community for over 50 years, and as part of its legacy is committed to ensure this area continues to thrive through the support of Michelin Development. Michelin Development works with local councils and Enterprise Agencies, Invest NI and the Ulster Bank to support small and medium size manufacturing and B2B enterprises in the Co. Antrim area (excluding Belfast) to grow and create quality new, sustainable jobs. Michelin Development are also working to attract major investors into the local Ballymena area.