Pitching to industry experts in their very own Dragon’s Den was just one of the activities engineering students at Solihull College experienced last week, as they took part in an employer engagement event.
90 students took part in the workshop at the College’s Woodlands Campus and were joined by industry experts from companies including Fujitsu, Apollo Aerospace Components, Real Success Ltd, and Solas Consultants – whose owner has pitched products to the real Dragon’s Den panel!
The aim of the event, which was organised with The Working Knowledge Group and funded through the Aimhigher government initiative, was to allow the students to engage with employers, to understand what businesses look for, and to help build general life skills to increase their chances of future employment.
Prior to entering the Dragon’s Den, the students were split into groups and tasked with a Zero Carbon Challenge. This involved creating their own business and inventing new products from recycled objects. The students had to brainstorm different ideas for their business and present their ideas to the experts, who then fed back their thoughts and offered guidance to each group.
Paul Harris, Founder of success coaching business Real Success, comments: “I am passionate about helping people develop life skills and seeing the students progress throughout the day has been fantastic. They have had to stand up and present to strangers, handle criticism and deal with difficult situations, which has enabled them to grow as individuals and given them real life exposure.”
On entering the Dragon’s Den each group of students had to pitch their new products to the experts and be grilled on their business plan, before the panel went away and deliberated over which group had invented the best idea.
Student Nathan, a member of the winning team, comments: “The event was really good as it gave us the opportunity to chat to employers about working in industry, without being intimidating. It was a great experience which allowed us to think on our feet and deal with situations we haven’t handled before.”