Year 9 student Ionika Redugo ‘Outstanding’ in Lancashire’s ‘Dragons Den’ Enterprise Challenge



Darwen Vale High School Year 9 student Ionika Redugo was named as the ‘Outstanding Student’ from amongst 136 students from across Lancashire who took part in The BAE Systems ‘Make it!’ Enterprise Challenge. Winner Ionika was joined by seven of her classmates – Hannah Gudgeon, Lucy Townsend, Jack Wilkinson, Kurt Bates, Macey Skidmore, Beth Crossley and Keira Meek-Hartley – at the competition hosted in Ribby Hall on February 10th.

The event was one in a series of manufacturing challenges that The Manufacturing Institute and BAES Systems collaborate on as part of their ‘Make It’ campaign, which aims to attract bright young talent into the manufacturing sector.  Teams from participating schools were tasked with building the prototype of vehicle for use in humanitarian and military disasters for the fictional organisation ‘Joint Emergency Committee’. For the final part of the competition each of the 17 teams had two minutes to present their idea and their company in a ‘Dragons Den’ style pitch before the winner was decided.

To make their manufacturing business a reality, the Darwen Vale students had to decide upon a managing director and a number of team roles before creating their brand and prototypes. They then pitched their idea to the BAEs Systems managers and a number of other local and multinational employers that the school is partnered with. The Darwen Vale team was ranked very highly by the judges and Ionika was recognised as the ‘Outstanding Student’ at the event.

Ionika said: “I was very surprised and happy to have won this award, but I could not have done it without the team.  I want to be a top engineer in the future so winning outstanding individual was a huge honour.”

Ruth Hugill, Assistant Principal and Head of Teaching and Learning at Darwen Vale High School said,

“STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) is so important to all of us. We aim to be a centre of excellence in STEM, developing our children through strong teaching and learning,  to be accomplished leaders in their areas.  With our fabulous facilities, our growing links with business and industry and wonderful pupils who go out and compete in engineering events like this, we are forging the pathways to a strong, bright future.”