1 October 2018: Eleven teams of students from schools Hemel Hempstead, Harpenden and St Albans will be putting their entrepreneurial skills to the test as young Apprentices in the 6th 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. This year, Dragons come from a variety of businesses which include companies such as.

At the launch on Monday 1st October, held at Hemel Hempstead 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.

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, six teams will be shortlisted to deliver a presentation at the awards event at on 1st April 2019, in a bid to become the overall winner of the 2018/19 Challenge in Dacorum.

372 pupils have taken part in the challenge over the past 6 years and have raised over £57,500 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

Adeyfield                                 Think Specialist Recruitment      Adeyfield Free Church

Collett                                     Warner Bros Studios/                  Gaddesden Place RDA

                                               Watford Chamber

Hemel Hempstead                  Ten2Two                                     Domestic Abuse Helpline     

JFK - Team 1                            Draeger                                  CAD Community Transport

JFK - Team 2                            Dacorum Borough Council     Herts Inclusive Theatre

JFK - Team 3                            The Olde Kings Arms             DENS

Kings Langley 1                      Sopra Steria                            Waterways Experiences

Kings Langley 2                     UKOS plc                                 Carers in Herts

Laurette Academy                  Lloyds Bank                             The Hospice Lottery

St Albans Girls School           Burtons Biscuits                       Rennie Grove Hospice

Sir John Lawes School          Robert Dyas                             The Pepper Foundation