Kids swap school for Stadium

by Foundation of Light

Books swapped for business at the Stadium of Light.

Secondary school students from across Wearside have been swapping their books for business plans as part of a national competition based around football.

Earlier this week more than 100 students, aged 14 to 19, gathered at the Stadium of Light for the club heat of the Premier League’s Enterprise Academy Challenge 2014, in partnership with SAFC’s official charity, the Foundation of Light.

The Enterprise Academy challenge, now in its fifth year, is designed to develop links between football and education and tasks students across the UK with solving a business-based problem set by Premier League Chief Executive, Richard Scudamore.

For the past six weeks teams from seven different Wearside schools have been working to fulfil this year’s brief, based around attracting more fans to attend live matches, engaging with supporters via the club’s digital channels and generating interest from international markets.

Earlier this week they gathered at the Stadium of Light to present their ideas to a panel of judges, with Georgia Craggs, Ellie Pearson, Katie Merritt and Caitlin Stephenson from Consett Academy being chosen as the overall winners.

Greg Robson, Caterpillar Learning Manager, who was on the judging panel, said: “We’re very proud to support the Premier League Enterprise Academy and feel it’s vital that businesses get involved in the development of young people in the region. The presentations showed how much potential our young people have and it’s imperative they have the opportunity to develop this.”

Premier League Enterprise Challenge, which is supported by the

Department of Business, Innovation and Skills is expected to attract around 3000 participants across the UK in 2014.

As club heat winners the team from Consett Academy will now go through to a regional semi-final, which is being held at the Stadium of Light in March. The winner of that event will then take part in a national final to be held in London later this year.

Sophie Hukin, Premier League Enterprise Academy Manager, said: “There were some excellent presentations at the Stadium of Light featuring some really innovative ideas and it looks like this year’s national competition is going to be the best yet.

“It’s encouraging to see the Foundation of Light expanding the delivery of this programme so that even more young people can get involved and great to see how the programme has grown in this region.”

As part of the judging day participants were also given the chance to tour the Stadium of Light, view footage from previous Enterprise Academy challenges and hear from former footballer Dick Malone, part of Sunderland’s 1973 FA Cup winning team.

Chris Hooker, Foundation of Light Enterprise Coordinator, said: “We are extremely proud of the partnerships that we have forged to make this project a success and look forward to bringing schools and the business community even closer over the coming years.”

For more information about the Foundation of Light and its full range of sport and education-based programmes across the North East visit or call 0191 551 5191.