Pupils from a school in Abertysswg have won a food and drink employability programme.
Idris Davies 3-18 School took part in the Tasty Challenge programme, which has been designed to encourage interest in the food and drink industry.
The programme was run in partnership with the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink (NSAFD) to help boost employability and aims to introduce students to the wide variety of career opportunities available within the food and drink industry, including marketing, finance, design and Human Resources
Tasty Challenge saw 60 14-year-old pupils work in groups to develop a food product for Welsh consumers.
Divided into groups of three to six, students applied for specific roles within their team including project manager, financial manager, Human Resources manager and marketing manager.
Students had 17 hours to come up with a concept, create a presentation, compile a business plan and pitch their ideas to the class.
Standout ideas included vegan cookies shaped in iconic Welsh symbols such as dragons and daffodils, as well as pizza wraps with Welsh products like Snowdonia cheese and Glamorgan sausages.
The second part of the programme saw pupils pitch their ideas to companies including Castell Howell, Allied Bakeries, RF Brookes and Careers Wales.
The final part of the programme saw two of the groups take part in Taste Wales – the country’s largest international food and drink conference.
The pizza wrap group came out on top to win the ‘Tasty Challenge Cup’.
Claire Sheen, leader of teaching and learning for Welsh Baccalaureate at Idris Davies School, said: “For the past year, I have been researching different real-life scenarios that I could present to our learners in order to link the curriculum to careers.
“I wanted to provide opportunities for our learners to network with professionals and offer them the experience of working in situations that they may be faced with later in life.
“These scenarios are difficult to provide authentically in a classroom setting however being involved with the Tasty Challenge did just that.”
Ms Sheen added: “The idea of our learners coming up with their own idea and concept for a product is a great way of getting them to think creatively and develop new skills that could be utilised in their professional lives.”
James Hicks, Strategic Development Manager for Wales at NSAFD, said: “Welsh food and drink is going from strength to strength and it’s a really exciting time for the industry. Welsh food and drink exports have increased by 10% in the last year alone.
“However, despite this growth, it is proving increasingly difficult to attract young people and those with the relevant skills to the industry.
“Through a number of innovative programmes, we are working to engage young people and educate them about the job opportunities available across the industry and steer them away from stereotypical assumptions currently hindering recruitment.
“Our Tasty Challenge programme in particular focuses on the entrepreneurial side of the industry and shows the roles that are involved when creating a new food product.
“We’re trying to steer away from stereotypes about jobs in the industry and highlight that actually the variety of employment opportunities is huge, it’s now just about creating the appetite for these diverse roles.”