Students from six Belfast schools are honing their business skills in an Apprentice-style challenge with Northern Ireland's biggest car dealership.
Organised by Charles Hurst Group and Business In The Community (BITC), three teams of students have each been awarded a vehicle and £500 to enhance the car's value with a view to making a profit for their school once the cars are sold at auction.
Each team will be provided with a designated Nick Hewer-type mentor by Charles Hurst, who will not only assist and advise them in their task but feed back to the judging panel on individual and team performances, while Charles Hurst's operations director Colin McNab will have the final say on the overall winner.
Participants have just two weeks to prove their worth, after which all three cars will be put to auction – the team behind the most profitable vehicle will be declared the overall winner. Students who show the most promise could be in with a chance of a paid summer work placement within the Charles Hurst Group.
Mr McNab, who is championing the initiative, said that the challenge is already off to a great start.
"Each team has been allocated the vehicle they'll be working on and it's not taken me long to notice that there are already a few sharp minds at work," he said.
"Our training will help of course, but it will be down to their own skills and abilities to get the job done right. I'm really looking forward to see how the teams perform and I wish them every success."
As part of the competition, Charles Hurst has arranged a series of master classes for those taking part which cover all the commercial aspects involved – managing a budget, sales, marketing, maintenance and repairs.