The largest ever Enterprise Education Challenge is taking place across the North East. Launching today on Friday 18th March the BIG PIE Friday Challenge, which is part of the Primary Inspiration through Enterprise (PIE) Project, has over 1000 pupils participating from Primary Schools in North Tyneside, Newcastle and Northumberland competing against one another.
Targeting 9, 10 and 11 year olds this unique, exciting and ambitious Challenge will engage inspire and educate future generations in enterprise and Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) based activities.
The BIG PIE Friday Challenge is being delivered for free to schools within three stages. The first being two timed activities, one engineering and another Coding based on the morning of the 18th March to schools across the North East that have signed up. Five schools from each area that are the quickest at completing the tasks will go through to the second stage where they will each undertake a full day of enterprise.
The students will plan, create and sell something with support from local businesses, complete a formal qualification and then be judged purely on the profit they make. The Challenge will ultimately culminate in an awards ceremony within Newcastle in June 2016.
The BIG PIE Challenge sees Schools from all across the North East participating, including St Pauls RC Middle School in Alnwick, Richard Coates Middle School in Ponteland, Eastlea Primary School in Cramlington. Within Newcastle over 14 schools are taking part including Hilton Primary in Blakelaw, Wingrove Primary, Rainbow at Excelsior in the West of the City and Tyneview, Walkergate, Central Walker in the East of the City. North Tyneside has a large number competing too including Stephenson Memorial Wallsend and Amberley Primary in Killingworth. Each of the Schools has been allocated a PIE’Oneer – someone from industry – to help them through the challenge and independently validate the competition.
Ammar Mirza CBE Founder and Chair of Asian Business Connexions explains “The level of support and interest from all across the public, private and third sector for the Challenge has just been overwhelming. We have small and big businesses coming together to support our common purpose focused on improving life chances and enhancing life choices within young people regardless of their background.
“Organisations supporting the pupils on the day include Newcastle College, Newcastle University, Bdaily, Accenture, FirstClass Supply, North East LEP, NCFE, Global Radio, Trinity Mirror Group, Noor Couture, Kielder Observatory, AMPM247, AmmarM (UK), BQ Live and Your Homes Newcastle. A particular note of gratitude must go to our Armed Forces who have dispatched PIE’Oneers to support schools in Alnwick, Cramlington and Wallsend”
To demonstrate the fun aspect of the challenge Global Radio have produced a video that is being played on the day to encourage all of the 1000 pupils however has their take on the BIG PIE and sees the presenters being pied with a foam pie in traditional comedy style.
Highlighting their support, Kim Miljus Global Radio MD North East “Global Radio are delighted to support this important and exciting campaign. We are the largest commercial radio group in the UK and North East, broadcasting Capital FM and Heart from our flagship studios in Newcastle City Centre to 718,000 listeners every single week right across the NE. This campaign affects every one of us….it’s about building a better and brighter future for our region and everyone in the region. Inspiring young children and giving them higher aspirations about what they can achieve here in the NE is such an important message.
“Working together across business and education is key to ensuring we match those inspirations and aspirations to the career opportunities here in the NE. We wish every pupil taking part in today’s exciting BIG PIE Challenge every success and look forward to meeting some of the winners here in our studios.”
Working with the North East Local Enterprise Partnership the PIE Project will clearly align to the North East LEPs Gatsby Career Information, Advice and Guidance Benchmarks and Enterprise Advisors initiative. This approach will make sure that the planned outcomes and outputs are successfully achieved and link to national standards with PIE’Oneers continuing to work with the schools for long term impact.
Andrew Hodgson- North East LEP Chair explains, “The North East Local Enterprise Partnership is committed to improving careers education, information, advice and guidance across our area. We are leading on a number of initiatives, such as the Career Benchmarks Pilot and Enterprise Adviser Programme, and engaging with schools, colleges and businesses across the region, to achieve this. This work is mainly being delivered at secondary level, and we recognise the need to offer similar support to primary schools.
“We are pleased to support PIE, working closely with the PIE team and PIE-oneers to develop an offer for all primary schools, based on a primary version of the Career Benchmarks to ensure that children see the wide range of job and career opportunities that are available to them from an early age and get them excited about these opportunities.”
The BIG PIE Friday Challenge even has seen cross political party support with Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP for Berwick visiting a St Pauls RC school in Alnwick and Chi Onwurah MP for Newcastle Central visiting St Pauls Primary School in Elswick Newcastle on the day.
The Project has even seen support from Northern Powerhouse Minister James Wharton MP “Linking education to enterprise is a key driver of success. This project is a good example of how business can engage with schools in a collaborative and cohesive way. I would encourage schools, businesses and the whole community to get involved and hope it can help to deliver on the Northern Powerhouse by driving long term economic growth in the region.”
MD of Accenture Bob Paton CBE who is spearheading the campaign and will be at Stephenson Memorial in Wallsend, highlighted “We have seen an incredible amount of interest from across schools, parents and businesses The prosperity of our economy, the future skills of the workforce and the career prospects of young people are dependent on adequate and appropriate development opportunities and experiences being available to ensure individuals have the right skills and attributes to successfully enter the world of work.”
“Today is all about bringing our community together and young people learning real life skills in a fun and engaging manner. The number of businesses we have supporting is nothing short of incredible and all too often the North East features nationwide for all of the wrong reasons. The BIG PIE Friday Challenge and the PIE Project will platform the North East’s commitment to Enterprise and STEM Education that is adequately and appropriately linked to business.”
Moving forward The BIG PIE Friday Challenge hopes that everyone will consider becoming part of and supporting the PIE Project to help influence and deliver enterprise education, together with career advice and guidance, in a collaborative and consistent way. Bob encourages everyone to get involved, “I look forward to you supporting a truly inclusive, ambitious, fun and exciting initiative that will significantly benefit our future generations showcasing the North East for being an amazing place.”