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Dragon's Apprentice - St Georges School Dragon's Apprentice - St Georges School
25 September 2014 Written by 

The 6th St Albans Dragons’ Apprentice challenge kicks off

A record number of teams of students from schools and colleges across St Albans and Harpenden took up the Dragons' Apprentice Challenge last night at the launch event at St Columba's College. The Connect St Albans Challenge is run by the Centre for Voluntary Service. Over the next four months, the 16 teams of 16 and 17 year olds will attempt to turn £100 into £1000 or more for their nominated charities with the help of local business 'Dragons'.

Now in its 6th year, the Dragon's Apprentice Challenge has already raised £105,000 for more than 50 locally based charities and community groups, from Homestart, Centre 33 and Youth Talk to the Harpenden Child Contact Centre and Wendy Gough Cancer Foundation.

Using their £100 seed capital and with support and guidance from their business mentors and charities, the school teams are tasked to generate income through business based activities, gaining valuable practical experience of planning, time management, teamwork, budgeting, communications, sales and marketing.

At last night's kick-off the school teams were introduced to their charities and Dragons and presented their initial business ideas. The event was attended by the Mayor of St Albans, Cllr Geoff Harrison and Cllr Mary Maynard, the Town Mayor of Harpenden.

"The Dragon's Apprentice Challenge continues to go from strength to strength and is unique in bringing together schools, charities and local businesses," said Cllr Harrison. "The students quickly gain confidence and skills to help equip them for the next stage of their lives and often identify special areas of interest that can be career defining."

In a recent survey, 86% of previous participants said they took part because they felt it would be good for their future career and 68% wanted to do something good for charity. Schools and colleges participating in the 2015 St Albans Challenge include: Loreto, Samuel Ryder, Sir John Lawes, St Albans Girls', St George's and St Columba's.

Penny Mortimer who created the Challenge said, "The Challenge enables schools, charities and businesses to work closely together and develop relationships which often go way beyond the period of the competition. We're delighted by the enthusiasm and creativity of local business people who so generously give their time to enable the young people to achieve their targets. Many have been so impressed by their young Apprentices that they've offered work experience or support in their career development."

Following its success in St Albans the Challenge now covers the whole of Hertfordshire. Hubs based in Broxbourne/East Hertfordshire, Hertsmere, Dacorum, Watford/3 Rivers, Welwyn & Hatfield and North Hertfordshire/Stevenage offer young people the opportunity to hone their business skills and support their local community in a rewarding and enjoyable way. To date more than 900 young people across the county have generated over £200,000 for 109 different charitable organisations.

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