Savvy students are the business

Pictured with Lord Barry Jones and Lead Judge John Tiernay are the winning team from Prestatyn High school Lewis Blackshore, Callum Jones, Grace Larter, Ben Armstrong, Erin Oliver and Elizabeth Miller.

A group of business-savvy students from Denbighshire beat off stiff competition from nine other teams to challenge for a UK title.


The team of six from Prestatyn High school won the North Wales regional heat of the national business and accounting competition organised by chartered accountancy body ICAEW.


They will now go forward to represent North Wales in the UK final in Birmingham in June.


The event at Coleg Cambria’s campus in Northop, Flintshire, was supported by the college and Wrexham Business Professionals, made up of local accountants and solicitors.


The aim is to bring schools, colleges, students and employers together to develop key employability skills in young people, and improve awareness of a career in chartered accountancy.


Assuming the role of ICAEW chartered accountants, the students had two hours to analyse a business situation, before presenting their ideas to a panel of top business professionals.

Lord Barry Jones and his wife Lady Janet Jones presented the awards to Prestatyn High and the runner up, which was one of the two teams from Coleg Cambria taking part.

The Prestatyn team included Ben Armstrong and Callum Jones, both 18, along with Lewis Blackshaw, Grace Larter, Elizabeth Miller and Erin Oliver, all 17.

Elizabeth Miller said: “We all really enjoyed the competition. It was fun and I think we all learnt a great deal about team work and how to work under real pressure when time is against you.”

Erin Oliver added: “I’m absolutely thrilled to have won. I actually want to be a chartered accountant once I have completed a maths degree.

“I have to admit I was a bit shocked when it was announced we had won, I wasn’t expecting it as the competition was so tough and the standard so high.”

Melanie Christie, ICAEW Regional Director North West, said: “We were really impressed with the team’s performance and shrewd thinking.


“These budding business advisers looked beyond the numbers and they showed they had an excellent instinct for business and ethics in order to give well-rounded advice. I hope I’ll be seeing more of these young people in leading roles in the future.”

It was a sentiment echoed by Lord Jones who said: “These young men and women have all done outstandingly well.

“Observing the competition I am greatly heartened by the intelligence, motivation and dedication shown by these remarkable students.

“These young people were quite simply brilliant.

“I would also like to pay tribute to the teachers and mentors who guided their students through the process. They did an excellent job.”

David Jones, Principal of Coleg Cambria said: “I was delighted ICAEW held the regional heat at Coleg Cambria..

“I enjoyed observing the competition and presentations. I think the standard I witnessed shows the talent there is among school and college students across the region.

“I’m sure some of the business leaders and chartered accountants that will go onto secure future jobs here North Wales were part of this competition.”

Head judge John Tiernay, of Llandudno-based Tiernay Fedrick Chartered Accountants, said: “The sheer enthusiasm of all the students was amazing. It really was remarkable how they got to grips with a serious business situation in the limited time available and then quickly came up with valid and sensible conclusions.”

Fellow judge Mario Kreft, founder of Wrexham-based Pendine Park care organisation, agreed that choosing the winning team had been difficult.

He said: “The competition highlighted that there are many brilliant and talented young people in the region. And the fact so many are showing an interest in business and accounting is very positive.

The runners up were business studies students from Coleg Cambria whose team comprised Albert Myint, 18, Callum Williams, Tom Reynolds, Harrison Bellis, Monika Conti and Nia Davies, all 17 and from the Wrexham area.

Albert Myint said: “We are a bit disappointed not to have won but we can be proud of the way we worked together and to finish as runner-up is a good result for the college and ourselves.”

The competition was supported by local firms of chartered accountants including Salisbury & Co, LJ O’Brien, Godfrey Edwards, Bennett Brooks and Tiernay Fedrick who provided professional mentors and judges.


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