Steve Gittins, Head Teacher at Tyneview School (pictured), is 'thrilled to be involved' in the event
Jamie Hardesty

The Big PIE Challenge: The enterprise movement hoping to inspire the North East

The largest ever Enterprise Education Challenge is planned to take place across the North East later this month.

Launching on Friday 18th March the BIG PIE Friday Challenge, which is part of the Primary Inspiration through Enterprise (PIE) Project, will potentially see 250 Primary Schools in North Tyneside, Newcastle and Northumberland competing against one another.

Targeting 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 will be delivered for free to schools within three stages. The first being two timed activities on the morning of the 18th March to all of the schools 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.

Bob Paton CBE, MD of Accenture and former Interim Chief of the North East LEP, is leading this campaign as a business leader passionate about tackling the skills issue.

He explained: “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.

“There is significant evidence that suggests employers are suffering from a skills shortage and whilst there are a range of interventions providing Careers Information Advice and Guidance these tend to be focused on pupils aged 14 plus.

“I want to help bring the whole community together for a common purpose creating a movement all around enterprise education. As an adroit campaigner of skills development and passionate about positively platforming the North East, I am spearheading the Campaign. I now need everyone to get behind this exciting initiative.”

Ammar Mirza CBE, local entrepreneur and Asian Business Connections group founder, describes the challenge as a ‘movement’, rather than simply a conference, with huge potential to ‘improve life choices and enhance life choices of our future generation’.

He explained: “Businesses are fully aware that the biggest issue affecting them is the lack of appropriate staff. Engineering, IT, Technology, Creative, even the Leisure and Hospitality industry is suffering from being unable to find people with the right attitude and aptitude.

“Over the past two years we have had Sir John Hall, Northumbria Water, YHN, HRH Princess Eugenie and numerous other business and community leaders involved in a truly collaborative and inclusive approach in providing enterprise education.

“The Challenge is all business led and we are encouraging businesses and individuals to get involved and supporting the Big PIE Challenge. We already have a range of businesses committed and are seeking more.”

Steve Gittins, Head Teacher at Tyneview School, added: “We are thrilled to be involved. This is a vital lesson for students to learn in partnership with other local schools, and we ultimately aim to run our own local shop in Walker.

“This initiative will help local businesses interact and engage with the future generation, ensuring they are work ready as early as possible in life.”

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