SCORES of students, teachers and businesses packed into South Essex College on Thursday (17 March) night to celebrate the finale of Thurrock Council’s 2016 Thurrock’s Next Top Boss project.
Representatives from secondary schools and colleges were at the event with sound, music, and presentations production managed by 2012 winner, 17-year-old Connor Allen.
The competition was launched at Opportunity Thurrock in October and this year the project has involved over a thousand students.
Philip Pearson, director of HW Wilson, hosted the evening and explained the programme to a packed audience.
Nine schools and two colleges (Palmer’s and South Essex College) took part in months of hard work and preparation to claim one of the three awards up for grabs; The Green Solution Business Challenge, The Business Challenge and the Overall Runners-Up award.
Businesses set school teams different tasks and problems to solve. Teams were judged on criteria like team work, public speaking, creativity and success against the brief.
The winner of the Green Solution Business Challenge, presented by Tom Andrewartha, Water Efficiency Manager from Essex & Suffolk Water was Water Warriors from Grays Convent High School.
The Business Challenge, working in partnership with the University of East London and presented by David Graham, General Manager at Park Inn, Thurrock, was team Perspective from Gable Hall School.
Overall Runners up award in partnership with Royal Opera House, presented by Jenny Skingsley, Associate and Marketing Manager, Birkett Long was awarded to the #ThurrockBlazer team from The Ockendon Academy.
Connor Allen said: “I’m 17 and I work up London two days a week for an events company and Next Top Boss has helped me run my own business as well.
“Without Next Top Boss, I don’t think I would have achieved this at 17.”
Connor explained his project was to create a logo for the Royal Opera House and proudly told the audience the logo is now printed on everything produced from their Purfleet centre as well as it being displayed outside the Chief Executive’s Office in Covent Garden in London.
Thurrock Council’s ‘Boss’, Chief Executive Lyn Carpenter, opened the event by saying how leaders come in all different shapes and sizes.
Speaking afterwards, she said: “Thurrock’s Next Top Boss has been running since 2011 and has grown in support year on year.
“I’ve often said that education is far wider than the classroom and this is a fantastic example of practical skills and ability being put into the real business world.
“I’m pleased to see our business partners recognise the value of nurturing this type of learning and would encourage others to contact the team and find out how to can get involved in next year’s programme.
“My congratulations and thanks go to the winners, finalists, and schools for supporting our students, and to the businesses for making this Next Top Boss possible.”