Beauty and the Beard and Enterprise: 

Futures stumbled across this fantastic enterprise yesterday via BDaily North East, which by the way is a great Twitter handle to follow @BdailyNorthEast for stories and developments on regional businesses. Heavy Metal Gentleman are a Darlington startup. Laura had an understanding of the beauty industry, Thom had a beard and together they recognised a gap in the beard grooming product market.

 [Above picture featured on]

Within one year they are now exporting as far as Poland and brew and create with oils and balms a range of products to apply to the beard area. They love what they do, have high hopes for future expansion and have set up a ‘Kickstarter’ to help them on their way. 

This is one of numerous fantastic stories to share with young people about spotting opportunities and giving something a try. Encouraging pupils to think creatively and come up with an enterprising idea is a great way of engaging learners. Checkout their website and blog to discover more and perhaps purchase some products for a beard you know! 

Enterprise. development ideas:

Perhaps set quick challenges at the beginning of lessons to get your pupils creative brain juices flowing. For example “what would make a great home delivery service that isn’t already available?” or “if you were going to set up a vlogging channel what would you talk about that would appeal to others your age?” or “Can you think of a new idea for a wearable tech product?”

If you have pupils who are keen to explore enterprise further encourage them to think about areas of interest and subjects which may support them to develop their skills.  Also don’t forget to make the distinction between being creative and being artistic they are different skills sets although they do compliment each other. There are a number of activities, challenges and organisations who can help develop and support development; some of which are listed below. 

Young Enterprise @pfeg_org 

Peter Jones Enterprise Academy  @PJEA_org and @PJEA_EastDurham

Talent 2030 – aimed at girls and encouraging STEM engagement @talent2030

This is Creative Enterprise (TICE) offer a range of creative programmes, workshops and sessions. They have also recently launched traineeships in fashion, music, and graphic design. @TICE_Uk

Apps for good – encourage young people to develop their creative skills as well as digital skills by solving real world problems.  @appsforgoodCDI

A quote from the Founding Chairman Rodrigo Baggio:

Our goal is to transform the way technology is taught in schools; to empower students from all backgrounds to seize the opportunities of our digital age and create solutions to the problems they care about, using technology.

Rodrigo Baggio, CDI Apps for Good, Founding Chairman & Founder CDI Global

Above are just a few ideas you may wish to consider. It’s also worth checking out Catapult which is part of the national agenda to encourage enterprise and innovation. They run some great competitions which you could use as live projects or as examples within lessons. They have one currently to develop a travel app with a prize of £5000.  It’s worth following them on Twitter too!  @digicatNETV 

For more information about enterprise, to advertise enterprisin events, workshops, or discuss how you can get involved with Futures NE email Futures NE


Digital Matchr Review

Digital Matchr

On the ‘Make it Digital’ section of the BBC there is an interactive career match resource called ‘Digital Matchr’. Futures thought we would give it a blast and report back to you!

When you click onto Digital Matchr you are first provided with information about the digital sector, a link to the test, and further information about why digital skills are so important as well as some featured videos.

They are inspired by the behaviour assessment tool DISC, based on the work of US psychologist William Moulton Marston. DISC theory looks at whether people are task or people focused, outgoing or reserved and then try and link your answers to one one of 10 different profiles and job roles within digital. The resource has been developed by The Tech Partnership and in collaboration with Google.

They also provide you with a range of links, videos and how you can learn code and other useful workshops (which are unfortunately) down South. However, we are a bit of a digital force in the North East and a sector which is growing rapidly and worth further exploration for students with interests in: computing, analysis, creating, science, logic, development, business and many more. Digital can take you anywhere and many of the jobs available now in digital didn’t even exist 5-10 years ago which is crazy and it’s not slowing down yet, but predicted to grow four times faster than any other sector.

What next?

Perhaps encourage pupils/students to take the test and check out some of the links below. We will be also posting events as we find them on the website and planning some great #Futureyou blogs:

Coderdojo North East  coding clubs that meet regularly across the North East

DigitalSkills Event for Girls North East (Jan 28th 2016) If you have not booked already, it may be worth contacting Karen Marshall (Apprentice, Education and Engagement Lead) at Accenture and register for future events and find out how they may be able to support your school and apprenticeship opportunities. Check out this round up by the Stemettes of the 2015 event.

Have a look at some of the really cool companies based at Campus North. Its a hub of start-ups, digital, tech, great ideas and even better company names!

There is also a hub of IT linked companies who have grouped together to form Dynamo North East  Again worth checking out as they regularly have events that may be of interest.

Sunderland Software city is inspiring and leading the growth of the thriving software industry too, providing world-class facilities, a skilled workforce, support and connections businesses need to succeed.  They also have an excellent jobs section and business directory.

The Artisan Inventor

I enjoyed having a go on Digital Matchr with my match the ‘Artisan Inventor’.  It’s definitely worth a shot even if it’s just to find out what profile you are.

Powers: detail and precision as well as being enthusiastic, friendly and excitable (of course) and apparently exceptionally gifted like Lassie the dog! (bursting with Lassie pride right now.)

Prescription: great at user experience, game development or multimedia production.  Sounds good and I would agree areas I would be interested in…. although there are many more too.

Earnings: I could be starting on £27,000 and earning by the time I’m 30 £65,000! (Wowsa, definitely in the wrong game.)  A quick Labour Market Intelligence (LMI) check estimates average wages of around £40,000.

To share your: digital courses, careers, business’, experiences, workshops, events and reviews,  email: FuturesNE to feature on the blog and website.