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Bradford students create marketing campaign for First West Yorkshire

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Local bus operator, First West Yorkshire, has worked with students from Parkside School in Cullingworth and Hanson Academy this month to design a marketing campaign to encourage more teens to travel by bus.

First West Yorkshire partnered with local social enterprise Ahead Partnership to deliver a challenge to get students thinking about how to encourage more young people to use public transport. Sixth form students were asked to design and pitch a marketing campaign which promotes the benefits of using bus services in a way that would appeal to transport users aged under 19 years old.

The competitions are part of the FutureJobs programme, a fully-funded service from aspire-igen, Leeds City Region LEP and the European Social Fund. Students attended an interactive competition in each school, taking part in workshops based around perceptions of bus travel, marketing channels and the chance to review previous travel marketing campaigns. They then had time to work on their ideas before presenting them to a panel of First West Yorkshire representatives in a school final. Two chosen teams from each school then further honed their ideas at school over eight weeks, with help from business coaches from First West Yorkshire who gave the students a budget of £30,000 for their campaign.

The young people pitched their final ideas at Bradford City Hall on 4 July to a 'Dragon’s Den' style panel of judges made up of Cllr Sue Duffy, Oliver Howarth (Operations Director for First West Yorkshire) and Sharon Presley from West Yorkshire Combined Authority, who chose the winning ‘Bus Winners’ campaign from Parkside School.

The winning campaign will be piloted by First West Yorkshire using social media this summer and the winning students received £100 in shopping vouchers.

Oliver Howarth, First West Yorkshire’s Operations Director, said: “The amount of thought the finalist teams had put into their proposals and presentations was really impressive and the whole competition has given a lot of young people an insight into life after school and college. At the same time the judges learned an enormous amount about social media! It has been a hugely worthwhile enterprise."

Sharon Presley, West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Lead Communications & Marketing Officer, said: “West Yorkshire Combined Authority works closely with bus operators and local authorities as part of the Bus18 initiative to improve customer satisfaction and passenger experiences for bus users. One of our key Bus18 goals is to encourage more young people to use buses and I was delighted to see such fantastic ideas from these students.”

Stephanie Burras CBE, Ahead Partnership’s Chief Executive said: ”This project has shown how students can really learn from a real-life brief with face-to-face help from local employers. Meeting employers is key for young people when it comes to learning about careers, but also when it comes to developing essential skills for future employment.

“The students worked very hard on their ideas, taking into account the feedback and advice they were given from the business volunteers at First West Yorkshire and created some fantastic campaign ideas. They particularly felt that the challenge helped them develop their speaking and listening skills as well as their confidence to speak in front of business leaders.”

Kathryn McCarter, a Year 12 student from the winning Parkside School team, said: “From the First West Yorkshire Challenge we got an insight into a professional environment and what it would be like to work in marketing. As a group it helped us develop teamwork and individual skills such as confidence when presenting."

Victoria Limbert, Head of Sixth Form at Parkside School, said: “As a school we have been really impressed with the organisation provided by the Ahead Partnership, the time the volunteers from First Bus and the judges have given and our students. The final helped our students develop a professional presentation which was delivered in a confident manner - skills which have helped set them up for life after Year 13. We’d like to thank Ahead Partnership and Bus 18 for coming together to make this fantastic challenge happen."

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