Merrion Centre Challenge 2018

Students from Leeds hone their business and marketing skills to come up with an event for city centre shopping destination, the Merrion Centre.

merrion centre challenge

FOCUS: Help students put into practice vital business and enterprise skills with the help of local employers

45 students from Year 9 and 10 at Leeds City Academy, Swallow Hill Community College and Roundhay School were invited to the Merrion Centre where they were tasked with a brief to design a marketing scheme and event that would attract more teenage footfall to the shopping centre in the very first Merrion Centre Challenge.

Students learnt about the history of the Merrion Centre from their management team, had a marketing masterclass from their Head of Marketing & PR and also got the chance to carry out market research with the retailers and explore the facilities to get a better idea of the space they would be hosting their event.

Students were given eight weeks back at school to work on their ideas and come up with an exciting presentation for a panel of judges from Town Centre Securities including their Chairman, Dr Edward Ziff OBE. While each group presented their pitch, the other groups took part in interactive activities to help them discover more about their strengths and weaknesses and the key employability skills needed for the world of work.

The winner was announced at the final on 19 June with Roundhay School taking home the prize of £200 for their school and a trophy to display for their free to attend music festival themed event. The students will be working with the Merrion Centre's marketing team this summer to make their ideas a reality. The runners up received £100 for their school and Leeds City Academy will also be working with TCS on their loyalty card app idea.


  • 100% of students that took part said the challenge said it gave them a better understanding of the skills and qualifications needed for work
  • 100% of students said it gave them a better awareness of the types of careers available in their local area
  • 100% of students said it improved their speaking and listening skills, and their confidence


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