Enterprising students at Saint John Houghton Catholic Voluntary Academy are taking on a Dragons’ Den style creative challenge.
Thirty Year 9 students are working to create and sell products that promote Cromford Mill, as part of a project being run by Derbyshire Services for Schools and funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Arts Council England.
The project is a celebration of Derwent Valley Mills and students at Saint John Houghton CVA, in Kirk Hallam, are focusing on Cromford Mill.
They have already visited the mill, been given a tour and taken photographs. They have also learnt about the history of the mill.
With the support of local screen printing artist Rachel Wayne, students have created graphic designs inspired by the site and screen printed these onto a range of products including bags and calendars.
They will return to the mill this month (November) where they will be pitching their products, costings and financial predictions to a panel of heritage and creative experts and site staff and will be scored as to which would most likely be procured to sell in the site shops. They will then sell their items to the public.
Laura Bywater, DT technician at Saint John Houghton, said the students had really taken to the project.
She said: “They’ve been great and they are really enthusiastic about the products that they are making. In their teams each student has been allocated a different role so it could be to do with marketing, finance or production. They’ve got £10 to buy what they need to make their products so they have to work out how much they would need to sell them for in order to make a profit. A project like this teaches them so many skills such as organisation, how to look after their finances, time management, teamwork and communication. We are hoping to invite parents and families to the event in November so they can see the results of all of the students’ hard work.”
Georgina Greaves, from Derbyshire Environmental Studies Service, is helping to run the project.
She said: “This has been a fantastic way of supporting young people to take pride in their local heritage, explore using a world heritage site as a source of inspiration and creativity and develop really important employability skills that will set them up to be the enterprising entrepreneurs of the future”.


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