Local secondary students take part in Dragon's Den Experience with the School of Geosciences

Local secondary students take part in Dragon's Den Experience with the School of Geosciences

A number of S3 pupils from Old Machar Academy showcased their work on a tourism project through a Dragon’s Den Experience at the University of Aberdeen.

As part of ongoing outreach activity between Schools within the University and local schools Pam Cumming, Schools Engagement Officer, visited Old Machar Academy a number of times and delivered workshops to three classes of National 5 Travel and Tourism students.  These workshops focused on branding and the expectations of various target audiences, as well as the unique selling points of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire from a travel and tourism perspective.

Following the workshops the students, working in groups, were given different target audiences and asked to develop an itinerary for a visit to Aberdeen that would suit their target audience.  Along with determining which unique selling points of the city and surrounding area would be attractive to their target audience, students had to consider factors such as budgetary constraints, transportation options, and accessibility when developing their itinerary.

Each class presented their itinerary to their teachers and Pam, and the teams with the best presentation from each class were awarded an afternoon out of school to compete in a final Dragons’ Den Experience at the University.  They learned about different career paths and options in travel and tourism from Senior Careers Advisor Janice Montgomery, before hearing about the importance of sustainable tourism from Dr Piotr Niewiadomski, Senior Lecturer in the School of Geosciences.

Finally, it was the students’ turn to present with the Dragon’s Den Experience.  All three teams presented their pitches to a panel of judges from the University.  Each team focused on a different target audience – a family of four, an elderly couple, and a group of students visiting from abroad – and the judges were impressed with the thoroughness of research each team did into their audience when building the itineraries.  One of the judges said "all of the presentations were great, and it was great to see the pupils advertise Aberdeen with the skills they had gained in Travel and Tourism."  Ultimately, though, there could only be one winner and the judges determined that the group who had designed an itinerary for the elderly couple shone through.

When reflecting on the day, Pam said “the visit by Old Machar Academy was a celebration of hard work by the young people from S3.  It was the culmination of a series of workshops, research, and presentations and it was great to hear from the pupils that they enjoyed researching the area and that it had more to offer than they originally had thought.”

The School of Geosciences looks forward to working closely to co-develop experiences for secondary pupils across the region in the months and years to come.  If you work at a secondary school and are interested in learning more about the School of Geosciences, please contact geosciences-outreach@abdn.ac.uk.

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