HUNDREDS of young people and VIPs from across the region mingled at Thurrock’s Next Top Boss Award Ceremony last week to celebrate Thurrock’s talented teenagers and mark the culmination of the competition.
Gold paralympian Danny Crates joined top executives from organisations across the borough including Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation, Thurrock Council, Lakeside Shopping Centre, RWE npower, Port of Tilbury and the Royal Opera House at the initiative’s inaugural awards ceremony at the Thameside Theatre in Grays.
75 participants were nominated for the challenge awards – Brand Academy, Destination Thurrock, Green Solutions and Down to Business – as well as individual prizes such as Top Performer, Best Research and Creative Genius.
All of the nominees will be given the chance to apply for apprenticeships and work experience at the top organisations in Thurrock and the lucky winners scooped a range of prizes to help them embark on their careers including a week at the UEL Knowledge Dock, laptops, iPads, BlackBerrys and vouchers from Lakeside and Best Buy.
The initiative, which has been created and organised by Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation, with co-funding from Thurrock Council and support from over 30 Thurrock-based organisations, aims to get young people on the career ladder, while promoting Thurrock businesses and the borough.
The competition element of the project ran from May to November and was open to 17-19 year olds living, working or studying in Thurrock or at any of Next Top Boss’ partner college campuses – Palmer’s, South Essex and Havering. Although only in its first year it received backing from Lord Sugar and former Thames Gateway minister Shahid Malik and was highlighted as best practice for the public sector and shortlisted for an Enterprising Britain award.
An open exhibition of the participants’ work will be on display at the Thurrock Centre for Business, George Street, Grays on 31 January between 11am and 6pm.
The next phase of the initiative is the Next Top Boss LaunchPad, a careers and education guide which will be distributed to over a thousand 17-19 year olds to help them decide what they want to do and what they need to do in order to achieve that goal.
Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation Chairman, Will McKee said: “The Next Top Boss awards showcased the range of home grown talent that we have in our borough. Through their entries the participants showed initiative, originality, teamwork and dedication – key attributes both in business and in life – and it was fantastic to be able to celebrate their achievements.
“The night also brought together our Next Top Boss partners and showed that Thurrock is a great place to do business, with a fantastic array of top national and international businesses. We want more of our young people to pursue the careers available to them right here on their doorstep – to think opportunity and think Thurrock.”