Anti-theft project carries off the prize;Young Enterprise

26th June 1998 at 01:00
YOUNG ENTERPRISE board meetings at Hugh Baird College can be fraught, says teacher Paul Mushrow.

"When you get 15 and 16-year-olds in a board room situation, at first they're screaming across the table at each other. It takes them a couple a meetings before everybody starts pulling together."

In response to the rising car crime problem in Bootle, Merseyside, the students' company - Innovation - has made a fake car alarm with a flashing light designed to deter thieves.

The product won them the Most Innovative Product category in their area competition. Some of the community college students attended lessons in electronics before they put it together, and the group consulted Merseyside Police crime prevention officers.

"I have run Young Enterprise for three years now and it's nice to see the way they develop. The strange part is how keen and businesslike the students become," said Mr Mushrow. "Most of them will claim they gain a lot more confidence through it.

"Initially the managing director of Innovation was very quiet in meetings. But as we progressed, she's come out. She recently took part in a presentation in front of 200 people."

"Meetings are like proper business meetings. To begin with there were one or two dominant people, but then they started to take it seriously.

"Once they were allocated jobs to do, they were getting hauled up by other board members - why haven't you done this? But that's what Young Enterprise is about."

Now it is the end of the year, and it's time to wind up the company. The students are disappointed that they still have to sell 15 of the 40 units, and the company has made a pound;5 loss.

Despite this, says Mr Mushrow, most of them want to carry on. "They come back to you and say 'We know what we've done wrong, we can do it better next year'."

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