Student James's ski-lock brainwave is a winner

21st March 2008 at 00:00

You've heard of a think tank. You may even have taken part in a thought shower. Welcome to the latest forum for brainy innovators - the careers igloo.

The Careers Igloo Roadshow, to give it its full title, is an initiative organised by Make Your Mark, a national campaign to encourage youngsters to make the most of their bright ideas.

A series of visits was held around the country to find the best young inventor. The national winner, announced this week, is James Clarke, 22, a Manchester Metropolitan University student who has invented an ergonomic ski lock.

He intends to get his "Ski Safe" on the market next year, and will be using the pound;2,000 prize money from Microsoft to help achieve it.

But FE students were far from being pushed out of the picture by their university rivals.

Castle College in Sheffield, which hosted the event, produced its own finalist - Rachel Gilbert, 17, who has a novel idea of false teeth for cats and dogs who have had to have their own removed.

Julie Byrne, director of Castle College, which is part of Sheffield College, said: "We are committed to developing enterprise in our learners and encouraging them to develop their business ideas.

"Young people are the future of growth for the economy and colleges have a major role to play in this, so we are delighted to host this national event."

Castle College has opened a centre to boost business skills. It has a boardroom, office, projector screen and computers, to encourage students to develop commercial ideas alongside their existing studies.

Make Your Mark was founded in 2004 by the British Chambers of Commerce, the Confederation of British Industry, the Federation of Small Businesses and the Institute of Directors.

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