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March 24, 2021

Students h-appy to take on Harrison challenge

24th March 2021

Students on Wearside have been given the opportunity to unleash their entrepreneurial flair at the launch of this year‘s Harrison Prize.

The eight week challenge at the Harrison Centre for Social Mobility, which is part of the Harrison Foundation, will see learners compete with each other in teams to produce an idea for an app to help people manage their personal finances.

A total of 26 young people aged 16+ at the Harrison Centre are taking part in the challenge with the judging session due to take place in May.

Each member of the winning team will receive an iPad and participants will have the opportunity to gain paid work experience at north-east financial technology business and Harrison Centre partner, True Potential.

The Harrison Centre is based at the Beacon of Light in Sunderland. It is a year-round educational facility working with young people from the North East who have fallen out of mainstream education.

Learners at the Harrison Centre gain employability skills and qualifications including in English, Maths and IT with pass and qualification rates in excess of 90%.

This year‘s Harrison Prize launch took place on Zoom amid ongoing social distancing restrictions. All of the learners received tips and advice from Harrison Centre founder David Harrison, True Potential’s Chief Executive Daniel Harrison, and Head of Delivery at True Potential, Dianne Pattison.

David Harrison is one of the UK’s leading entrepreneurs. Over a 40 year career, he has set up several businesses in financial services and hospitality. In 2017 he created the Harrison Centre for Social Mobility followed by the national Social Mobility Pledge in 2018.

David said:

“The aim of the Harrison Prize is to challenge the learners to think about employment and the types of jobs that are out there. Like everyone else when I was a teenager I had little idea of what I wanted to do or the sorts of jobs that were available, let alone that one day I might set up my own businesses.

“I hope that through the Harrison Prize, a good number of these amazing young people will uncover an entrepreneurial streak that they didn’t know they had and have some fun.”

Harrison Centre partner True Potential is a financial technology business based in Newcastle, managing over £14 billion of people’s savings and investments.

Harrison Foundation trustee and True Potential Chief Executive Daniel Harrison took part in the launch of this year’s Harrison Prize and said:

“It was great to speak to the learners at the launch the Harrison Prize. The advice I gave them was to have fun with this challenge and when they have the opportunity to get into a job, to take it with both hands, stick at it and learn as much as they can on the job.

“That’s what I did and I remember in the early stages of my career taking any job that was going, talking to a lot of different people and gradually working my way up to become Chief Executive.

“I look forward to seeing their ideas and giving them the opportunity to gain work experience at True Potential later this year.”


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