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

Perry McCarthyYou are cordially invited to a prestigious Christmas lunch celebrating the great support which local businesses give to Dacorum charities

To be held on Friday 10th December 2021 at Shendish Manor Hotel, London Rd, Hemel Hempstead HP3 0AA from 12 noon to 3pm

The guest speaker for our Christmas lunch this year is the enigmatic Perry McCarthy, Ex F1 driver and original ‘The Stig' from Top Gear. Perry is the master of resilience, I can promise he will have everyone laughing their socks off and should be a great draw for a lot of people. 

Tickets are £45.00 each (includes £5 raffle tickets)

Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for the booking form.

Can YOU mentor the next Dragons’ Apprentice winners?

Connect Dacorum is organising the Dacorum Dragons’ Apprentice Challenge 2021/22 which will be the ninth year that this programme has been running in Dacorum. To date the challenge has raised over £88,000 for local charities and has seen 520 pupils complete.

What is the challenge?
Year 12 students from Dacorum secondary schools will be entering teams of up to 8 pupils as the ‘Apprentices’. Each team will be matched with a business mentor (the ‘Dragon’) and a local charity. The teams are challenged to turn £100 into £1000 or more for their charity by means of business related ideas. The challenge starts in October and culminates in a finals evening in April 2022.

This is an excellent opportunity for young people to directly experience the challenge of leadership, identifying roles and making decisions as part of the team, problem solving and also learning about the needs of and engaging with local charities.

Getting involved in the Dragons Apprentice Challenge provides a cost effective, engaging opportunity for staff development and training. It creates an opportunity for a company to demonstrate it’s CSR credentials enhancing their reputation in the community, and promoting staff satisfaction, motivation and retention. It also provides an opportunity to work with young people who may become your employees of the future.

How to get involved: If you would like to take part as a Dragon in the 2021/22 Dragons’ Apprentice Challenge, or provide sponsorship support, please register your interest by emailing Cindy on: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


christmas lunchAs you know the government announced another national lockdown. We would normally be doing our wonderful Christmas celebration in partnership with Dacorum Community Trust at Shendish Manor Hotel this year with our 3 Mayors, 2 MPs and special guest and 140 guests.  

Obviously, we can't do that so we would like to do something different and invite you to have your work Christmas party with us.  We are planning to have a wonderful food hamper delivered (either to your office or to individual people's homes) and a Zoom party with a guest speaker, raffle plus Radio Dacorum for plenty of Christmas tunes.  It's been a tough year for everyone and this will be a great way to say thanks to your staff and a pat on the back to yourselves.  The cost we will keep as low as possible but will be around £20-£25 per person.  There will also be an opportunity to sponsor a place for a volunteer at one of our wonderful charities.

Put the date in your diaries - Friday 11th December from 12 noon to 2pm

Please let us know whether you would be interested, so that we can gauge numbers for catering and delivery purposes.  Details on how to book coming soon.

quizConnect Dacorum are delighted that we will running our quiz this year and because we can't get together in person hopefully doing it on Zoom will be the next best thing.  Now we are on the brink of another national lockdown this will give you something to look forward to.  And we've made it Christmassy to get you in the Christmas spirit.

The date is Thursday 19th November at 7pm.

Venue: Your house, via Zoom

The teams will be a maximum of 6 people. You can either get together your team before the night or we can put you randomly in teams. There will be opportunities for your team to go into a Zoom breakout room to discuss your answers

Everyone is invited! 

Cost is £5 per person - book your place here

Feel free to share the details with your friends, family and colleagues.  All are welcome.