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A team of entrepreneurs from Hull are honing their enterprise skills thanks to Project Blyth, an innovative education initiative in the Humber region which is supported by Green Port Hull. The project has provided 33 groups of young people with kit cars to build from scratch, which will be raced at an event at the KCOM Stadium, Hull, on Sunday 16th July.

Team 13 members Ashley Hoggard and Jade Smithson

Team 13 is a group of six young people involved with Charles Cracknell’s Making Changes For Careers (MC4C) youth enterprise programme. All budding entrepreneurs with businesses, they signed up to Project Blyth to enhance their ‘Big 13’ enterprise skills, covering teamwork, effective communication, creativity and innovation, leadership, problem solving and product design, to name just a few.
 
Project Blyth captures the excitement of motorsport to inspire young people, from primary school through to university, to not only develop enterprise skills, but to excel in STEM subjects, helping to address the serious shortage of engineers faced by UK industry.
 
Team 13 has held fundraising events, devised sponsorship packages and gained support from local companies to develop its IET Formula 24+ electric car, which has been supplied by charity Greenpower Education Trust. The team also received £2,000 towards the cost of the car from Green Port Hull, which has provided the same funding for all 10 of Project Blyth’s Formula 24+ cars.

Project Blyth is supported by major employers within the region including Siemens and the University of Hull, with 60 local firms already committed to supporting teams. Budget Tyres, Radphone, Hull Jap Car Services, Hull Youth Support Trust, The Rank Foundation, John Cracknell Youth Enterprise Bank, Northern Gas Networks, Sangwin Group and Sign Services have all been involved with the development of Team 13’s car.

Jade Smithson, 23, from east Hull, joined Team 13 to boost her CV. She runs her own business, Jade Smithson Designs, making bags and cushions out of sports shirts.

She commented: “For Team 13, it’s not so much about the STEM and engineering element – it’s about us building our skills in other areas, which we can apply to our businesses in the future. It’s been good to try something new too. Being a seamstress, I’m hands-on with fabrics, so I’ve been able to transfer my abilities to a car, which has been a new challenge. I’ll also be driving the car at the race in summer, which is exciting.”

Kirsty Barr is Youth Enterprise Officer at MC4C, which assists people aged 16-29 in turning their ideas into businesses. She is overseeing the work of Jade and her Team 13 teammates Ashley Hoggard, Courtney Branagan, Laura Suter, Courtney Exelby and Charlene Revell.

Kirsty said: “Project Blyth allows young people from MC4C to put the skills they’ve learnt into practice and gives them valuable experience. They are essentially running the project as a business. For example, they’ve networked and negotiated with companies to gain items such as overalls for the workshop, in return for sponsorship packages.

“Team 13 are gaining enterprise skills as well as confidence, which will stand them in good stead in business.”

Tim Rix, Chair of the Green Port Growth Programme Board, commented:

“Team 13 demonstrates that Project Blyth is not only for budding engineers and petrol-heads. It’s a valuable way of teaching young people business basics, building confidence and giving them skills that they can apply to a variety of careers. We’re proud to play a role in Project Blyth and are looking forward to seeing the initiative grow.”

To follow Team 13’s progress, like their page on Facebook or follow them on Twitter @Team13PB. For more information on Project Blyth, visit www.projectblyth.co.uk