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Cloudy Group’s App-rentice Challenge

The year was 2018 and like something out of Lord Sugar’s boardroom itself, students from the Mandeville School competed in a 3-day challenge to create a new app where they improved their digital and marketing skills. Following the success of this smaller-scale event, Cloudy Group decided to take it county-wide and offered two more schools the chance to compete in the 2019 App-rentice Challenge.

Featuring Nick Hewer, a previous advisor to Lord Sugar on BBC’s ‘The Apprentice’, as well as Dragon’s Den’s Peter Jones, the challenge was set for The Mandeville School, Aylesbury Vale Academy and Bucks UTC where the ‘candidates’ fought it out to complete the building, design, marketing and proof of concept for a new mobile phone app. Putting their critical thinking, time management and teamwork skills to the test, all three schools went head to head to compete for the prize: attendance at the celebration of enterprise at the Peter Jones Foundation’s EntFest 2019. Not only this, but winning students were invited to take part in building an app for a local charity and to attend an experience day at Microsoft.

Students were able to work with industry-leading volunteers with marketing expertise, computer programming skills and video production skills in order to learn from and share knowledge with them whilst building their apps. Improving their team-work skills, they worked together to utilise sophisticated technology such as Microsoft Teams and PowerApps and, as a result, have developed a comprehensive range of sought-after digital skills. The final showdown saw the winning teams from each school exhibiting their project leaflets, poster, vlog and video adverts to a public audience ready for voting in which Aylesbury Vale Academy’s team took the winning crown. 

The App-rentice Challenge was a huge feat and a successful collaboration between Cloudy Group, The University of Buckingham, Study Higher (NCOP) and Bucks Skills Hub and supported by Microsoft Education, McAfee, Technovisual Education, The Readiness Company and TV presenter Nick Hewer.

“The Cloudy Group, University of Buckingham, Study Higher and Bucks Skills Hub are to be commended highly for getting this challenge on ‘the road’. Aylesbury Vale Academy will jump at the opportunity to get involved in anything similar to this excellent opportunity to showcase student talent in collaboration with some industry support. What a fantastic learning opportunity.” - Roger Burnam, Headteacher of Aylesbury Vale Academy 

“I think the programme is beneficial for the people who are looking to step into the business world and gain a profession in the industry and it will give us a head-start on other people our age. It also taught me even more leadership skills.” - Mandeville School Student
 “Overall, I think the programme was a really good idea and I was honoured that I had the chance to participate. I think it has impacted my future decisions as I was not sure what to do after school, but now I might do something in the tech industry.” - Student from the winning team

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