Pupils to represent Black Cats in enterprise challenge

Sunderland AFC Premier League Enterprise heat winners Shotton Hall with (L-R) Dr Elaine Hooker, Kevin Ball, Richard Hopper, Chris Towers and Sarah Ward.
Sunderland AFC Premier League Enterprise heat winners Shotton Hall with (L-R) Dr Elaine Hooker, Kevin Ball, Richard Hopper, Chris Towers and Sarah Ward.

A Peterlee school is set to represent Sunderland AFC in an enterprise challenge.

Shotton Hall Academy will take part in the business contest after winning through the club heat at the Stadium of Light.

I think the girls will do Sunderland proud

Dr Elaine Hooker

More than 100 pupils from North East secondary schools and academies competed in the Premier League Enterprise Challenge which tasked them to increase SAFC’s fan base and income streams within the USA and present their concepts to a panel of judges.

Shotton Hall team’s idea of forming a partnership with restaurant giants McDonald’s, leveraging social media and broadcasting live streams of Premier League games to increase fan engagement impressed the panel of judges.

This was made up of Foundation of Light Head of Commercial. Richard Hopper, Teesside University’s Head of Business Innovation and Leadership Management, Dr Elaine Hooker. and Added Value Coordinator at Esh Group, Sarah Ward.

The pupils also took part in a question and answer session with Kevin Ball, who drew on his experience as captain of the Black Cats to talk about the importance of leadership, teamwork, communication and preparation and how this can be applied to education.

The all-female team from Shotton Hall, said: “It feels great to win the competition. We didn’t think we would as there was some tough competition amongst the schools. Everyone deserved to win.

“It was nerve-wracking and scary presenting in front of everyone, but it’s about having confidence in yourself and thinking quickly on your feet, especially when the judges were asking questions.

“We put in extra hours after school to research our ideas, put them together and prepare. We’ll do exactly the same for the next round which we’re really looking forward to.”

Shotton Hall will now travel to Stoke City in January for the semi-finals, which will include North East rivals Middlesbrough and Newcastle United, for the chance to progress to the national final in London.

Dr Hooker said: “The winners stood apart because of their ideas and how they delivered them. There were varied presentations, some very slick, but ultimately it’s down to the idea and how sustainable that is.

“Going forward and further into the competition the idea has to be really strong. It was idea of partnering with a major company such as McDonald’s which impressed us.

“It’s a tough competition but I think the girls will do Sunderland proud.”

The Premier League Enterprise programme, which began in 2009 and which is run in partnership with Sport Relief, uses the business models of professional football clubs to engage young people in educational activity and a national competition.