The App-Prentice Challenge 2018


Monday 23 July 2018

In under three days, The Mandeville School’s Year 10 student group have managed to design, market and build a working prototype of a mobile App that will serve a purpose for the school.

The year group took part in the App-prentice Challenge from 16 -18 July led by local businesses, Cloudy Group and partners: Microsoft Education UKTechnovisual Education and Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership (BTVLEP).

Competing in teams of 10, the 110 students took up the challenge using the resources on hand from the 34 members of staff, 90 ICT workstations and 18 Microsoft Surface Pros they had dedicated to supporting them.

“This is such a fabulous challenge!” says Jackie Campbell, Skills Development Manager at BTVLEP. “It has encompassed the development of so many vital skills including team work and leadership, project management, independent learning, innovation, adaptability, problem-solving, time management, communication and presentation skills. All of which are so important in whatever career or next steps the students choose.

The insightful and inspiring challenge has brought to life careers in this vital growth sector and has connected Cloudy Group to tomorrow’s workforce.”

Technovisual Education’s Managing Director and event leader for the Design sub-team, Mark Vanstone, added: “For those who are interested in careers in technology, game or software development, the App-Prentice Challenge has provided the students with a real-life insight into what it’s like to work on the development of an app.

It has been exciting to witness how these young minds have taken to the challenge and pieced it all together, working in their teams. They have shown great flexibility in how they’ve adapted to being taken out of their comfort zone and focused on solving an issue. It’s been fascinating to see how well they’ve engaged with new digital tools and business ways of working, as well as how they’ve used the marketing principles they’ve learned to “brand” and create their final app with the end user in mind.”

The commitment and motivation of the students shone through in how much they were able to achieve in only a few days. The creative thinking, organisation and entrepreneurship were evidenced not only in how quickly students took up using the new technology and software, but in how they worked with their team to produce some exceptional app ideas that were proudly on show in the final exhibition and presentation pitch to the judges.

Senior Marketing Manager at The Careers & Enterprise Company, Tanya Albert, was part of the final judging panel, and reflects on it by saying: “The App-Prentice Challenge has been a fantastic event to attend. It is clear to see how much preparation has been made, how each student has identified and understood their role, and how some have also mastered the art of pitching. These types of event are a great opportunity for young people to develop the skills they need to help prepare them for the world of work.”

79% of participating students surveyed said they would recommend the App-Prentice Challenge to other schools. When asked how helpful the programme has been to help them make decisions about their next steps in terms of education, training or work, 87% were positive it had.

Also on the judging panel, Chris Penson, PSHCE, Careers, and Critical Thinking Coordinator at The Mandeville School, commented: “This has been a fantastic experience for our students. As the first Year 10 Enterprise event, this pilot has proven how worthwhile it will be to do again.

We’ve seen students engaging with their work in new ways as they’ve absorbed themselves in the project over the last three days. They’ve clearly enjoyed themselves whilst also pushing themselves academically and practically to take on the challenge and compete with their peers. It was great to see how empowering the technology and insights from the business partners have been for our students.”

All students have been awarded with a certificate of achievement in recognition of their hard work and aptitude in using core competencies that will be useful in future education and employment.

12 students were recognised for their outstanding commitment to the project and will be awarded with a “pizza party” on the last day of term.

The peer prize went to team “Equipo Seis” who will have their lunches paid for at the upcoming end of year school trip to Thorpe Park.

Aaron Hussain from Team “Equipo Seis” was on the peer prize winning team and was also one of the students recognised to embody the school’s core values. When asked for his feedback on the Challenge and what he’d learned he commented: “This programme has improved my leadership skills. As I was Project Manager I have had to assign roles to my team and trust them with their work. I have gone over their work and was very happy, so I have been happy for my role and happy with this programme.”

The judges’ winning team (“Black & White”) and team in second place (“Group 4”), will be rewarded with an exclusive day trip to the Microsoft offices in Reading. There, the 20 students will have the opportunity to explore and create in the unique spaces of the office and learn more about some of the applications, tools and digital skills that will support jobs of the future and these individuals throughout their lives.

Amy Simon, Sales Excellence Manager Intern at Microsoft Education UK who took part in the event, had this to say: “We’ve seen fantastic enthusiasm and teamwork from all of the students involved in this challenge and we’re delighted to be able to offer these young people the chance to put their creative skills to the test, using the latest technology. This programme has helped to build new skills, which we’ve seen the students apply in various tasks, not least their use of Microsoft applications and devices, which could be a huge advantage for their future career prospects.”

In keeping with BBC’s The Apprentice show, Cloudy Group will be “hiring” one person from each of the winning teams to develop the winning app proof of concept.

David Hall, Director of Cloudy Group says: “It’s a wonderful coincidence that both winning teams came up with similar app ideas around revision guidance for students. We’re delighted to be able to invite the two winning candidates to the Cloudy Group offices for a week’s employment over the summer holidays. Our welcome new “App-Prentices” will be developing a joint, fully functioning mobile app that they and their peers will be able to use in school in future.

We’re proud to be part of such a rewarding challenge and to see the students get involved with such enthusiasm. The results have exceeded our expectations and we look forward to what the future holds for these students, as well as in taking the App-Prentice Challenge further.

The Principal at The Mandeville School, Andria Hanham, commented: “This enriching learning experience has been a great end to the school year. The school is very proud of our Year 10s who have responded well to an inspiring event.

We expect our students to continue to work with our local business partners and for our school to also benefit from the new revision app that has been researched, embraced and built by our very own accomplished Year 10 entrepreneurs.”


Mandeville App-Prentice Challenge Event TeamFront row, left to right: Amy Simon, Sales Excellence Manager Intern, Microsoft Education UK; David Hall, Managing Director, Cloudy Group; Kirsty Forshaw, Events & Marketing Manager, Cloudy Group.
Back row, left to right: Jason Williams, Assistant Subject Leader of Computing, Mandeville School; Jackie Campbell, Skills Development Manager, BTVLEP; Raazi Karim, Sales Excellence Manager Intern, Microsoft Education UK; Edward Tagg, 6th Form student, Mandeville School; Chris Penson, PSHCE, Careers, and Critical Thinking Coordinator, Mandeville School; Ryan Bowen, Associate Consultant Intern, Microsoft Education UK; Mark Vanstone, Managing Director, Technovisual Education.

For more information, please contact:

Kirsty Forshaw,          Mob. 07920 092928

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