The Dacorum Dragons Apprentice Challenge was launched on Tuesday 28th September by the High Sheriff of Hertfordshire Lionel Wallace DL.  Eight teams of students from schools in Dacorum and beyond will be putting their entrepreneurial skills to the test as young Apprentices in the Connect Dacorum Dragons’ Apprentice Challenge in a bid to raise money for charity.                                                                                       

The Challenge pairs teams of Year 12 students with local business people (a Dragon) and each team is then matched with a local charity or community group.  They are then tasked with developing business strategies and delivering their ideas to turn £100 of seed capital into £1,000 or more, with all profit generated going directly to the team’s charity.

At the launch on Tuesday 28th September, held at John F Kennedy School, Connect Dacorum Manager, Cindy Withey, matched the teams with a Dragon and with the charities and community groups that each team will support. The Apprentices then spent time getting to know about the work and objectives of the charities and community groups and were introduced to their Dragon. Over the next few months the teams will work closely with their Dragons to devise business based projects to raise money and awareness for their charities. With guidance from their Dragons, the teams will learn about entrepreneurship, managing a business, communications, finance, organisation and other job related skills, all of which will be of positive and practical value in the next stage of their education and development.

Lionel Wallace, High Sheriff of Hertfordshire said “We need this all over the County! Well done Cindy Withey and all the young leaders, Dragons and Charities. Really quite excited about all the money making business ideas that will be birthed in the process.”

The teams can win awards for the most money earned, most innovative product/service or business idea, best example of close co-operation between team and charity, best presentation and best display panel. After the final reports have been judged by a panel of Super Dragons, the teams will deliver a presentation at the awards event at on 28th March 2022, in a bid to become the overall winner of the 2021/22 Challenge in Dacorum.

508 pupils have taken part in the challenge over the past 8 years and have raised over £88,000 for local Dacorum charities.  Cindy Withey, project leader of the Dacorum Challenge said, “We’re overwhelmed with the interest and excitement that the Challenge generates each year and I’m excited to see what the teams develop over the next 5 months and look forward to our Awards Evening.”

Residents and businesses based in Dacorum should look out for and support the teams in their various activities. Projects might include running stalls at the various Christmas markets, hosting dinners in local restaurants, organising musical events and quiz nights and making and selling refreshments at local fairs.  Teams this year are:

School                                        Dragon                                     Charity

Ashlyns – Team 1                        Whitestar Solutions                  Community Action Dacorum  

Ashlyns – Team 2                        Atlas Copco                              Waterways Experiences

Hemel Hempstead                      HH Business Ambassadors      Dacorum Mencap            

JFK - Team 1                              Underwoods Solicitors              Hospice of St Francis

JFK - Team 2                              Metro Bank                               Blue Tangerine

JFK - Team 3                              SWARCO                                 Watford FC Trust

Sir John Lawes, Harpenden       Computacenter                        Gaddesden RDA

Sir John Lawes, Harpenden       The Katalyst Coach                 Herts Interpreting Theatre