School pupils developed digital marketing strategies and pitched them to a leading housebuilder which has developed a new community facility in Darlington.
The year nine and 10 pupils at Longfield Academy in Darlington were set the task of developing strategies to encourage visitors to the new nature trail at Keepmoat Homes Central Park development of 360 new homes.
Working in teams the pupils developed their ideas under the scrutiny of Mark Blacklee and Jonathan Cook, the managing director and technical director respectively of Darlington based Curo Marketing, which develops websites and ecommerce platforms for a wide range of clients from clothes shops to architects.
They were joined on the final judging panel by Keepmoat’s community engagement and investment manager Geoff Scott and assistant site manager Karl Henderson, who developed the nature trail in partnership with IT students at Darlington College and led a site visit to the nature trail on the first morning of the two day project.
The project ran under the banner of Foundation for Jobs which aims to inspire young people’s interest in the industry sectors which are set to create the most jobs in Darlington and the Tees Valley over the coming years by linking education with industry.
The nature trail, which will be 2km long when completed, will use 11 podiums with QR codes to direct users on smartphones to a website highlighting information about birds, bat or flora found in that location.
Mr Henderson said: “This in itself would lead children who constantly use technology into what I have termed as “Accidental Exercise”, in other words they don’t need to stop playing on their phones and before they know it they will have spent an hour or so walking the Central Park Nature Trail, being educated in a subtle manner and enjoying a walk that they might never have had.”
Mr Blacklee said: ““What makes projects like this one so special was the very creative ideas and exceptionally high standard of work produced in the small amount of time they had. I think the digital sector in the north east is in safe hands if these pupils are anything to go by.”
It is the third time that Curo Marketing has worked with Foundation for Jobs to lead school projects aimed at developing young people’s understanding of the skills needed and opportunities available to them in the digital economy.
The Tees Valley Combined Authority has highlighted Creative and Digital as a key growth sector for the sub-region while UKTI North East (UK Trade and Investment) research shows 900 million people will shop online by 2020.
The national award winning Foundation for Jobs is led by Darlington Borough Council and supported by the Darlington Partnership of private firms and public sector organisations. It has worked with more than 7,000 young people since it was launched in January 2012.
For details on Foundation for Jobs contact programme co-ordinator Owen McAteer at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.foundationforjobs.co.uk