Awards showcase County Durham youngsters' business skills

Young business leaders of the future have been singled out at a County Durham awards event

The staff at Waterstons including directors Alistair McLeod, Sally Waterston , Mike Waterston , Ajaib Singh and Michael Stirrup
The staff at Waterstons including directors Alistair McLeod, Sally Waterston , Mike Waterston , Ajaib Singh and Michael Stirrup

The creative business skills of pupils from across Durham have been put on display at the Future Business Magnates awards dinner.

Pupils from Belmont Community School were named winners of the county’s prestigious award, with their innovative product Quarter2Stop, an app to stop cyber bullying.

Judges said the app addresses an issue affecting many young people in schools today and had the potential to become a reality.

They had been working with Belmont-based business and IT consultancy Waterstons.

Michael Stirrup, the company’s finance and HR director, said: “It’s the first time we’ve been involved with pupils to such an extent and seeing them grow through the competition was very fulfilling.

“The scheme gave the pupils some exposure to what the world of business is like and allowed them to develop an understanding of the importance of working as a team. It also allowed us to build strong relationships with local schools which is important as we recruit heavily from the local graduate market.”

Now in its ninth year, Future Business Magnates which is run by Business Durham, aims to broaden local pupils’ understanding of job roles and develop their enterprise skills while allowing local businesses to engage with local schools.

This year has been the biggest to date with 24 teams of Year 8 pupils aged 12 to 13 from across the county taking part.

Simon Goon, managing director of Business Durham, said: “The record number of schools taking part in this year’s Future Business Magnates scheme shows that it is going from strength to strength.

“By working alongside a professional mentor the students broaden their knowledge of the world of work while also developing their communication, presentation and research skills. This is fundamental to our long-term aim of producing a workforce equipped to meet the challenges of modern business.”

The awards dinner was held at Newton Aycliffe’s Xcel Centre on Friday, July 4, when the teams had a display showcasing their product and business.

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