Stepney Green Maths, Computing and Science College are representing West Ham United in the 2015/16 Premier League Enterprise Challenge Play-Offs, in the hope of reaching the final in London.
The Tower Hamlets-based college will be one of 29 school groups representing Premier League and Football League clubs, having made it through to this year’s Play-Offs.
The business and skills based challenge is run by the Premier League and Sport Relief, and this year tasked pupils with working on a strategy to help encourage fans to spend more time at stadiums on matchdays.
Six of these groups – one from each Play-Off – will progress to the final, where they will go head-to-head to pitch their idea to a panel of judges from the world of sport and business.
The Play-Offs will this year be hosted by Stoke City, Newcastle United, Manchester City and Arsenal, with the latter two clubs each hosting two days of judging. The winning team from each day will then be invited to present at the London final on 9 March 2016.
The West Ham United Foundation has been working closely with the college on the Premier League Enterprise project and has seen tremendous success across the initiative in recent years, having won the competition in 2014 and making the final last time out.
Yaseen Mukadam, a member of the Foundation’s Premier League Kicks team who won the competition in 2014, explained the programme’s profound impact.
“I had applied to go university but I didn’t get a place and at the time the Challenge started, I wasn't going anywhere. I didn’t know what I was going to do.
“The Challenge helped me with my speaking, communication and presentation skills, which helped me with the interviews, and this year I secured a place at university.
“It gave me the confidence to communicate and interact with people and I am now studying medicine at King's College, London.
“It has led to so many other opportunities. We've been to Downing Street, the House of Commons and last August some of us got to take part in a West Ham United Foundation trek to Peru.
“I couldn't have imagined what has happened to us. I remember when we were first told about all the doors that would open and the opportunities we would get, we wanted to win but we didn't imagine that it would happen.”
Since its introduction in 2009, 10,000 young people aged between 13 and 17 have taken part in the programme which uses business models of professional football clubs to deliver enterprise education, with another 1,000 set to take part in this year’s competition.
Premier League Executive Chairman, Richard Scudamore, who set this year’s task said: “I am sure this year’s challenge, our eighth, will produce even better ideas generated by even more enthusiastic and engaged young people.
“Our successful partnership with Sport Relief, Premier League and Football League clubs, to deliver education with football as the backdrop, continues to bring new and exciting entrepreneurs to the fore. I look forward to seeing the six Play-Off winning groups at the Final in March.”
The students have been asked to develop a strategy that encourages attending fans to spend more time at the stadium on match days, while looking at commercial opportunities that this could generate. Their aim is to both improve and extend attending fans’ experience on a match day.
Comic Relief Chief Executive Officer, Kevin Cahill, added: “We’re very proud to be working alongside the Premier League once again as part of this exciting initiative.
“The Premier League Enterprise Challenge uses the power of sport, in this case football, to engage and excite young people to learn about business. The skills they learn will be invaluable in later life and ultimately this is what Sport Relief is all about – bringing the entire nation together to help change lives.”