ESF Banner LogoFirst West Yorkshire Marketing Competition

Business volunteers from the Bus 18 scheme challenge sixth form students in Bradford to design a marketing campaign to encourage more teens to travel by bus.

first bus challenge 18

FOCUS: Help students understand the range of careers available in the transport industry and how to create a marketing plan by understanding your target market.

86 students from Parkside School and Hanson Academy took 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 competitions are part of the FutureJobs programme, a fully-funded service from aspire-igen, Leeds City Region LEP and the European Social Fund. 

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.


  • 94% students said the challenge gave them better knowledge of the skills and qualifications needed for jobs
  • 94% students said the challenge improved their speaking and listening skills
  • 94% students said the challenge gave them better awareness of the types of careers out there


“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." - Oliver Howarth, Operations Director, First West Yorkshire

“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."Victoria Limbert, Head of Sixth Form, Parkside School


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