Davyhulme school children brave the Dragons' Den

25 January 2017

Picture of school children

Young business leaders and entrepreneurs of the future had a taste of real office life when they came to visit United Utilities at Davyhulme wastewater treatment works.

A group of budding business moguls from Our Lady of the Rosary RC Primary School in Davyhulme have been learning skills like finance, team-building and leadership through a special “Dragons’ Den” style business competition.

Staff from United Utilities and engineering contractor Laing O’Rourke worked with the school last year to pick the teams of children with the best business ideas and help them start up their own ventures. These included selling fudge, games and Christmas decorations made from recycled bottles and fairy lights.

The youngsters, aged from 8 to 11, had their chance for a return visit when they came to see what goes on in the real life workplace at the Davyhulme site offices. They were particularly excited to see how 3D computer modelling is being used to plan the construction work which is currently under way to modernise the site. The children also took the opportunity to update the site team on the success of their business ventures.

Tim Boaler, senior project manager at United Utilities, was one of the managers who hosted the visit and he said how impressed he was with the confidence of the children.  “The way that the youngsters were able to communicate their ideas and the level of thought and planning that had gone into their presentations was really impressive,” he said. “It was a pleasure to meet them.”

The special link-up was arranged through a programme called Stepping Into Business which puts schools in touch with local businesses to help bridge the skills gap between school-leavers and the workplace.

Tim added: “We are in the middle of a £200m programme of investment here at Davyhulme wastewater treatment works and we are committed to working with the community.  As well as giving the children advice about team-working and business skills, the youngsters also learned why this site plays such an important role for the whole of Manchester.”

The profits that the children make through their business ventures will be used to buy two portable basketball posts and new drinking fountains at the school.