Students from schools across Bromsgrove, Redditch and the Wyre Forest will take part in this year’s Young Enterprise (YE) Company of the year Competition, part of the flag ship Company Programme, at a presentation evening sponsored by Oakland International at North Bromsgrove High School on Thursday 1st May, from 6pm to 9:30pm. Nine schools will be represented in the finals, with all YE companies submitting company reports summarising business plans, sales, and an overview of what they’ve learnt from taking part in the YE programme. During the event students will also man trade-stands showcasing their products, as well as deliver a 4-minute presentation to the judges and undergo individual interviews, summarising key experiences and company achievements. Award categories include: Best Company Report, Best Trade Stand, Best Finance Director, Best Presentation and the Team Work Award. The best two companies overall will then progress through to the next stage of the competition at the Hereford and Worcestershire Area Final to be held at Worcester County Hall on Thursday 8th May. YE judge for the evening and Oakland International customer support director, Miss Lynsey McIntosh, explained the rationale behind the company’s support of the YE scheme: “At Oakland we have a long history of sharing business knowledge and experience, so we value highly any opportunity to offer advice and guidance to local students, with our long-term aim of leaving a lasting impression, which, we hope, will make a constructive and tangible difference to them in their future career choices. Local business involvement in schemes such as Young Enterprise is crucial if we are to enthuse the next generation of business leaders and young entrepreneurs.” YE is the UK’s largest business and enterprise education charity. Every year the organisation helps around 250,000 young people learn about business and the world of work in the classroom, under the guidance of a network of 5,000 volunteers from 3,500 companies. Weekly support and email contact from their volunteer mentors, students establish businesses and learn to manage their companies. Young Enterprise Manager, Julia Neale, stated: “Taking part in the Company Programme gives all students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience of all aspects of running a business. It gives students an insight into the challenges and rewards that business can bring. Students gain a deeper understanding of team work, time management, communication and most of all confidence, and having a can do attitude. They can develop skills which they may not have had before taking part in the programme. All these elements will make a real difference to the students in preparing them for the world outside school, whether that is in the work place or at university.” Businesses interested in getting involved can contact Julia by emailing Julia.firstname.lastname@example.org and further information is available via: www.young-enterprise.org.uk - with programmes from introducing primary schools to the world of work, to inspiring teenagers to think about their financial futures and how to set up a business.