Creative students showcase innovative skills in new competition

Hotel Takeover was one of the projects in the final of the Student FIRST event
Hotel Takeover was one of the projects in the final of the Student FIRST event

Budding entrepreneurs and innovators joined together in a college-wide competition to seek out students’ talent, creativity and ground-breaking ideas at West Nottinghamshire College.

Student FIRST is an initiative launched by the college to reward learners’ initiative and new ideas for both charity and innovation.

FIRST stands for Future Innovation Recognising Student Talents.

The competition challenged students to showcase five key areas – leadership and teamwork, originality, technology, innovation, sustainability and environmental or community work.

The charity showcase tasked students from each curriculum area to carry out charitable activities of any description, with one successful team from each area shortlisted for the final .

The 27 shortlisted groups joined together to showcase their ideas collectively where they were judged democratically by students as well as a panel of business leaders.

Judges included Dame Asha Khemka, college principal and chief executive, James Bevan, director of Mansfield Shoe Repairs, Julie Russum from Russum’s catering and clothing suppliers, Russ Booth of RJ Booth Services, Olivia Wood from Framework and Phil Dobson, sales operations director at County Battery Services Ltd.

In the charity category the winners were the business students (sustainability/environment/community and technology), motor vehicle students (innovation), childcare students (leadership and teamwork) and A-level students (originality).

Each team won £100 plus a trophy and the opportunity to go for afternoon tea hosted by Dame Asha.

In the innovation category, the winners were A-level students (sustainability/environment/community), plumbing students (innovation), hospitality and tourism students (leadership and teamwork), engineerng and transport students (originality) and business students (technology)

Each winning team also scooped £100 prize money and a trophy.

Jessica Zapanta, 19, a business diploma student, commented: “The Student FIRST Innovation project was a good learning experience.

“To be able to pitch our ideas to business professionals and get critical feedback was useful, we can apply this to future projects.”

Robert Pearce, student experience team leader, added: “It made me incredibly proud to see just how many amazing minds we have amongst our students which goes to prove they will be an asset to any employer in the future with their wealth of creativity and intuition.”