A popular challenge that enables youngsters to connect with Welwyn Hatfield businesses while raising funds for local charities and community groups has returned for its sixth year.

The 2017/18 Dragons’ Apprentice Challenge involves pupils (Apprentices) from schools and colleges competing against each other to raise funds for their partner charities while learning vital skills. They are mentored by local business experts (Dragons) while Super Dragons judge the teams on their efforts.  The challenge is part-funded by Hertfordshire LEP.

This year’s dragons and superdragons had the opportunity to meet each other and some of the participating schools and charities at a lair event at Hatfield Hub on Thursday 30 November. The Super Dragons are:

  •  Sir Roy Gardner, Chairman Serco
  • Adam Richardson, Managing Director of Craft and  Cleaver, a BBQ, cocktail and craft beer concept
  • Alison Linksey, Centre Administrator and Community Champion, Land Securities, The Galleria
  • Joanne Price, Relationship Manager, Barclays

The schools have now been teamed with local businesses to help turn £100 into £1,000 or more for their designated charity. The participating schools are:

Bishop’s Hatfield Girls’ School who will be advised by ComputaCenter and will raise money for WGC-based charity the Willow Foundation.

The Chancellor’s School who will be guided by the Royal Vet College to raise £1,000 for Animal Care Trust.

Oaklands College to be advised by Accolade Measurements and will donate the money they raise to Keech Hospice.

Onslow St Audrey’s who will be guided by Hatfield Rotary Club to raise funds for Herts Action on Disability (HAD).

Monk’s Walk School pupils will look to Affinity for Business for guidance on their mission to raise money for The Big Cat Trust.

Sir Frederic Osborn School pupils will be advised by Grace Foods to raise money for Bullying UK - Family Lives.

Stanborough School team will be guided by PayPoint to raise funds for Hertfordshire Domestic Abuse Hotline.

Adrian Hawkins, Deputy Chairman of Hertfordshire LEP, told the dragons and superdragons at the lair event why the LEP was so keen to support the challenge and outlined the work the LEP is doing to improve employment opportunities for young people.  

He said: “We are delighted to once again sponsor this challenge here in Welwyn Hatfield as well as in other parts of the county. The challenge is a fantastic opportunity for young people to learn vital business skills such as team work and project management while raising money for local charities. We are grateful that so many businesses have signed up to take part and offer their expertise this year. This Challenge builds on the work the LEP is doing via its Enterprise Adviser network to build up lasting relationships between schools and businesses.”

Over £50,000 has been generated by young people working with businesses for charities working in Welwyn Hatfield.  Nearly 250 local young people who have made meaningful connections with business via the Welwyn Hatfield Dragons Apprentice Challenge. - Each year the approval ratings from participants in the Dragons Apprentice Challenge, show that over 95% of  participants believe participation will help them in their careers.

Photo shows Adrian Hawkins, Deputy Chair of Hertfordshire LEP, with Micky Kosowycz from Barclays Bank at the Dragons Lair event in Hatfield.