Buckinghamshire University Technical College Show Their Creativity on the App-Prentice Challenge 2019
Key Stage 4 students at Buckinghamshire University Technical College (BUTC) were taking on the App-Prentice Challenge 2019 on Tuesday 25th and Wednesday 26th June at exactly the same time as a parallel event was running with students on the other side of Aylesbury at The Mandeville School.
The full Year 10 group was given the opportunity to do the Challenge, which meant the whole Computing Suite floor at BUTC could be devoted to the event for the two days, along with the timetabled teaching staff. This provided a full complement of facilities and staff resources for the event, led by BUTC’s Employer Engagement Lead, Alan Bailey in conjunction with CloudyGroup and supporting project partners from Technovisual Education, Bucks Skills Hub, Microsoft Education, The Readiness Company and new sponsors: Study Higher and the University of Buckingham, Buckingham Enterprise and Innovation Unit.
Six teams competed against in each other in groups of seven students that were made up of a mixture of those studying Computing and Construction. Each team member was allocated their role for project managing, designing, filming, marketing and developing their App production following guidance provided by industry experts that included: marketing direction from CloudyGroup’s Kirsty Forshaw, design and video guidance from Justin Dutton of Pixel Edge, and technical support using Office 365 and PowerApps from Curtis Hawkins and Kaan Uyduran of Microsoft Education UK, Edd Dale of The Readiness Company and Dave Oxley of the college’s local employer and BUTC education partner, McAfee.
The students critical-thinking, time-management and teamwork skills were put to the test but it was their creativity skills that really shone through in the array of innovative ideas they came up with to brand and create their final app concepts with the end user in mind.
The students demonstrated skills linked to their contrasting areas of study, but in no way appeared restricted to their discipline as the Construction students and Computing students worked together on the digital programme of work.
Partnerships and Outreach Manager from Buckingham Enterprise and Innovation Unit at the University of Buckingham, Dean Jones, supported the BUTC event on both days. As a representative event sponsor, his role included being part of the judging panel and assisting the College Principal, Sarah Valentine, in the final awards ceremony. Dean commented: “It’s been fantastic to see the enterprise, entrepreneurship and innovation of the students taking part in the App-Prentice Challenge at BUTC. This exciting programme has not only allowed the students to engage with Microsoft tools and build up practical employability skills, we’ve also seen how it has sparked their creative-thinking, resourcefulness and teamwork.
“I have been particularly impressed with how students have mastered the art of pitching and had a business-like focus to their projects. This event clearly helps students to develop useful core competency skills as well as valuable connections to potential employers and higher education opportunities.
“It goes without saying that students who enjoy and excel on the App-Prentice Challenge could be a perfect fit for the Business Enterprise Degree programme at the University of Buckingham which enables students to start and run a business whilst also achieving an honours degree.”
Given how much the students achieved in only two days, it proved difficult for the organisers to identify only six students to be awarded for demonstrating the college’s core values: Exceeding expectations; “can do” attitude; mutual respect; integrity, honesty and openness; valuing difference and a goal driven, one team approach. Because of this, some additional “honourable mentions” were added to the awards ceremony to give extra merit to those students deemed worthy of selection beyond the certificate of achievement awarded to everyone who participated.
When asked for their feedback on the event, BUTC’s participating students scored the event with 82% saying they were “very satisfied” with the event, and 69% rating their experience on the App-Prentice Challenge “extremely valuable” to their future career development.
The winning team from BUTC will meet with the winning teams from Aylesbury Vale Academy and Mandeville School to compete for the overall prize that will be judged by Nick Hewer and crowned by Peter Jones CBE at EntFest 2019 on 28 June.