On Wednesday 31st January, myself and a team of 5 other students competed in the Wales Skills Competition at the University of Aberystwyth.
Arriving at around 3pm on Tuesday 30th after a three-and-a-half-hour coach journey, we entered the Marine Hotel where we would be staying for the night. The excellent view of the coast greeted us as soon as we stepped off the coach, and heading up towards our rooms for the night, we settled in and unpacked.
Having some free time, we walked around the local area before going to a restaurant on the pier for our dinner. Getting back to the hotel for about 8pm, the St David's group agreed to meet at breakfast in the morning and then set off to the competition.
I woke up at about 7:15, around the same time as I would for college, and had breakfast with the other girls. By 8:30, we were on the coach again, heading towards the University! I didn't know what to expect for the competition as the brief for the challenge was given out once the teams got there, but I was excited for the challenging day ahead.
The brief was to create a product or service that would help combat difficulties and issues that arise due to an ageing population. Of course, my mind went blank when I first read it, but as a team, we made a mind map of issues that we believed were most prominent and decided to focus on loneliness or memory loss.
Our product was a digital photo frame that plays pre-recorded messages from family members, which can be uploaded via a usb. The aim was to provide reminders of loved ones to those who suffer from memory loss, and to provide company for those whose relatives may be living far away.
The competition was surprisingly intense...
Our business idea had to be incredibly well thought out, with every area covered, from the finances plan, to the logo, to the competitors. It really felt like a real business by the end of the day with the amount of time we spent planning it out!
All the information we came up with formed a PowerPoint, which my team and I presented to a table of judges in another room. The ten minutes we were allotted for our pitch went by surprisingly quickly, and when we were told we had one-minute left, I know my team and I wanted to keep pitching our idea!
The judges asked us a variety of questions, some of which made us freeze up and turn to each other with wide eyes, but a 'bookshelf' analogy of dementia from Michelle received some impressed nods from the panel!
Despite a slightly nerve-wracking delivery, it had gone well.
My team may not have won the competition, but regardless, the skills we developed in the creation of our very own shared business are invaluable and were gained through the unique opportunity of being one of seven colleges to take part in this competition.
An enriching experience
The innovative process of creating a business idea and using team work and lots of dedicated thought to watch an idea flourish was very rewarding. The competition encouraged skills to be used in all areas, so we all had a chance to use our preferred ways of working, whether we were mathematicians, scientific thinkers or creative writers, as well as stepping out of our comfort zone.
The enterprise aspect gave me an insight into a possible route to take after College. It was an enriching experience with great company and brilliant thinking.