Portal Sign In

Tees Valley Young Enterpreneurs Challenge Themselves In The Big Project

Now in its 3rd year the Big Big Project is one of the initiatives from the Tees Valley Careers support offer at TVCA in partnership with Mike Bowen, Jacobs and with additional assistance from judges Susan Willis, DWP & Jacqui Donnelly, Achieving Change.

The launch took place virtually on 3rd November 2021 with 10 schools/10 teams across all 5 local authority areas; Acklam Grange School, Dyke House Academy, The English Martyrs School & Sixth Form, Nunthorpe Academy, Our Lady & St Bede Catholic Academy, Outwood Academy Acklam, Outwood Academy Bishopsgarth, Polam Hall, St Hilds C of E School & St Michaels Catholic Academy.

The students were given the challenge of ‘assuming that they have been granted £20m to spend in their own town and over the course of the competition they need to decide on the schemes they would want to deliver in their town to help ‘Level Up’.  Each team have been allocated a business mentor who will support them throughout the process. Teams will then be judged throughout 2 rounds and the final will take place in May 2022.

The Big Big Project has enabled us to support the development of young people’s skills and to provide opportunities for them to engage with a variety of local businesses and broaden their understanding of the diverse range of career opportunities available in the region. It is a fantastic opportunity for young people of all ages to work together to build a dynamic team that can address issues faced by businesses and individuals and show how improvements can be made.

Business mentors involved this year are:

PDJ Ltd Don Atkinson
Business Enterprise Fund Lee Vickers
Coachhubplus Mike Lowe
AECOM Stephen Hunt
Worley Ralph Grob
Learning Curve Neil Whittaker
Darlington Building Society Lauren Hiles
Enginuity Lucy Thompson
Chairman of Saltburn, Marske and New Marske Parish Council Stan Glover
Self Employed Brian Jolly

“It was great to see some really well thought out and developed ideas presented in such a confident and engaging way.  Judging was incredibly tough, with all teams putting forward presentations that were imaginative and importantly, deliverable.  It  was a very enjoyable experience and each team ought to be incredibly proud of their efforts”.

Iain Robinson, Assistant Director ‑ Town Centre Development, Stockton‑on‑Tees Borough Council

“Privileged to be part of the judging panel this morning for The Big Big Project. Incredible presentations from all 3 of the finalists – a special mention to the runners-up from Outwood Academy Acklam, an inspiring all female team whose passion and enthusiasm was evident and who demonstrated why events such as these matter to champion our local students and allow them to #SeeYourselfinSTEAM. Well done to all involved.”

Jayne Dale, Jacobs, Stockton

“It was an absolute privilege to be part of today’s judging panel and to see and hear from 3 confident, articulate and creative teams who have clearly put so much time, energy and thought into the task they were set. All of the team members are absolute credits to their schools and should be incredibly proud of their achievements. There were some excellent ideas put forward by the teams and I’m certain every one of the students who presented to us will achieve great things in their future careers, whatever they may be”.

Beverley Bearne | Assistant Director (Development & Growth) Hartlepool Borough Council

“The Final of the BBP competition was a great experience for our pupils.  Presenting infront of such a large audience including both adults and pupils was no mean feat.  However, they overcame their nerves and did their schools proud.  The organisation of the event was excellent as was the information prior to the celebrations. Breakfast was delicious and enjoyed by all.  The positivity and support given by judges and organisers of TVCA was just what the pupils required to boost their confidence and give them an extra bit of shine”.  

Mrs G Sangster, Careers Lead, St Hild’s CofE School, Hartlepool

“I’ve been working as a mentor with the St Hild’s Big Project Team and it’s truly been a pleasure; I’ve been especially impressed with their capacity for fresh and original ideas.”

Brian Jolly, Business mentor, St Hilds

“We enjoyed working as a team to figure out how we could create change for a better future for our generation and the generations to come”

Students from St Michaels, Billingham

“Working together with the school and students was not only a real eye-opener to the challenges this project presented to them, but also very rewarding to see how they grew as part of a team, coming together and also how they overcame those challenges to present their findings and suggestions for the project. I`m sure they have learned a lot of new skills and gained the confidence to help them in the future”

Mike Lowe, Business mentor, EMS


“I continue to be in awe of what our young people in the region can create when collaborating on a shared challenge.  The Big Big Project is fantastic opportunity for our students in the Tees Valley to grow the skills they need for the future”.

Jacqui Donnelly, Change Consultant I Facilitator I Trainer I Coach

“I have been honoured to take part in The 2022 Big Big Project. The enthusiasm and research from all the schools about the Levelling Up Agenda has been amazing, Well done to all schools for taking part and being involved in helping shape the future of our area. Good luck to all schools in the final”.

Susan Willis, Work Advisor, Support for Schools DWP

When I was offered the chance to work with Acklam Grange I jumped at it as this was my School in the past even though the name had changed from Stainsby. The team from Acklam Grange for the Big Big Project were so focused and had lots of enthusiasm and I’m sure they will be the skills for the future in Industry when they leave School

Don Atkinson, Pjd Ltd, Business mentor