ABDN Grad Challenge

ABDN Grad Challenge

Aberdeen Employability Boost Award logo

What is it?

Graduating students can gain project based, virtual work experience as part of a cross-discipline team tackling real life challenges set by our employer partners.

When is it?

The 2022 ABDN Grad Challenge took place from Monday 20th - Thursday 23rd June 2022.

Who can take part?

The ABDN Grad Challenge is for final year students at either undergraduate or postgraduate level.

How to participate

Registration is currently closed. We will look to reopening the programme in the summer of 2023.

Feedback from previous participants

"It is a fruitful experience to learn about different partners and real-life issues. Participants gain priceless skills"

"It’s a great way for students to use their creativity and ideas and gain a good experience for the future."

"The ABDN Grad Challenge was really an amazing experience."

Read more about the GRAD Challenge

Inspired by the success of virtual internships and the struggle many students faced in finding work experience over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, we created this bespoke, week-long, work experience opportunity to give graduating students the chance to gain hands-on world-of-work experience. We liaise with local businesses to come up with three challenges under the banners of inclusive, international and sustainable.  

Students are sorted into interdisciplinary teams dictated by their Belbin GetSet report and their choice of challenge. In creating their solutions to the challenges, students are required to submit a 5-minute video presentation outlining their proposal with any supporting materials.

A team of judges chooses a winner for each individual challenge, an overall winner and a highly commended prize. Students are scored on the innovation, creativity, and the feasibility of their proposal, the alignment to challenge brief and the quality of their pitch/presentation. There is also a prize for the top team member from each team (as voted for by teammates).  


The 2022 Challenges

Aberdeen Football Club provided the inclusive challenge asking students to develop AFC Women’s Team under the umbrella of the Aberdeen Football Club Brand. Students were asked to identify sponsorship opportunities and programmes or initiatives that help to engage new fans and consider the unique selling point of Aberdeen Football Club Women's Team over their competitors in Scottish football.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car's sustainable challenge focused on enhancing sustainability in the travel industry and required students to give high level recommendations with suggested action steps that Enterprise can take within the next 5 years. Students were asked to consider comparisons with other nations using evidence based techniques. 

The Net Zero Technology Centre also chose to provide an inclusive challenge. They tasked students to come up with the solution to the question 'what can the Net Zero Technology Centre add to our TechX offering to make it a more inclusive environment for our future founders and technology developers'. Their challenge centred around their aspiration to encourage diverse teams of all forms and to increase the number of female-led or co-led start-ups that graduate from the TechX Clean Energy Accelerator and which have BAME representation. 

The 2021 Challenges

Aberdeen City Council provided the inclusive challenge, tasking students with developing a hate crime strategy and a procedure to report communications in the Aberdeen region. The challenge focused around identifying innovative, effective, accessible and sustainable steps towards creating activities or practice to increase confidence and awareness in reporting incidents of hate crime. Students were also asked to come up with a communications plan to address incidents of online hate and micro aggressions.  

Aberdeen Football Club’s international challenge was about building the AFC brand reputation internationally. Students were tasked with identifying towns and cities that have similar industries to Aberdeen and that would be of benefit to Aberdeen FC to have a presence there. They asked students to identify ways in which AFC can partner with other football clubs to bring commercial benefits and consider programmes that could drive commercial income internationally. Part of the challenge also required students to think about the club’s USPs and consider initiatives that helps to engage new fans and service expat supporters who wish to support AFC but cannot attend games. 

The sustainable challenge came from TechX, who asked students to think about ways that TechX/OGTC can promote Aberdeen as an attractive place to build a sustainable (clean energy) business. They wanted students to consider all aspects that make a city attractive to small businesses, such as proximity to customer, the cost of offices, cost of living, quality of life, ease of commuting, how environmentally friendly the city is, and if the city has the facilities and services they need (e.g. research and development space, manufacturing facilities, lab space, an established supply chain).  

Watch the 2021 final showcase video