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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Alnwick Garden Challenges Ponteland High School Students

A group of post-16 students from Ponteland High School have been demonstrating their skills as sales people this term.

The students have taken part in an enterprising challenge organised by the Alnwick Garden and the Duchess of Northumberland. The students [Charlie Potter, Priya Chowdhry, Charles Westbury, Sabah Din, Andrew Hayes and Andy Tang] had to work to demonstrate their sales skills by selling some of Alnwick Gardens' more eccentric stock from their gift shop warehouse, from novelty duck- shaped watering cans to hedgehog shoe cleaners.

The teacher running the challenge at Ponteland High School, Mr Mark Tippins, said:  "The challenge is not as easy as it sounds. The students were given some really challenging products to sell and a relatively short time to do it in. This activity challenged the students to really think about what they were doing, plan and strategise their sales and aimed to test their skills. At the presentation event at the Alnwick Gardens on 8 December, they had to present their sales records to the judges and other schools. They did the school and themselves proud." 

In all, the students made £545, with stock left over at the end of the challenge. The students involved said: "We really enjoyed the challenge. We didn't win the competition but we learned a lot about ourselves and our skills".  The money was raised using local contacts, taking part in school Christmas Fairs, selling at parents evenings and even approaching local businesses to see if they could get their stock on the shelves.

Katie Scott from Northumberland County Council, one of the organisers at Alnwick Garden said: "The event is meant to challenge students. They had to organise their time, work well as a team and be confident in their sales pitch to succeed. It really was an exercise in enterprising education."

Competitions and events like this happen quite often at Ponteland High School, but this one definitely challenged the students and their perceptions of sales and the business world as a whole and the school looks forward to working with the Alnwick Gardens and other partners on future events.

If you have ideas for enterprising challenges for students in schools, or would like to be involved with future projects, you can get in touch with Mr Tippins at Ponteland High School.