Mearns challenge is tasty for pupils

Some of the Mackie Academy pupils with Louise Shankley, from Macphie
Some of the Mackie Academy pupils with Louise Shankley, from Macphie

A dozen teenagers from local secondary schools were recently given a taste of careers in the food industry as Macphie’s young enterprise challenge came to an end.

The Mearns-based food ingredients manufacturer launched the team challenge last November at its Glenbervie headquarters when it challenged pupils from Mackie, Mearns and Portlethen Academies to create their own cake business.

After 12 weeks, the youngsters returned to Macphie’s board room to battle it out for first place.

The winning team – Muffin Men from Mackie Academy – made more than £40 profit.

This is the second time Macphie has run the challenge as the school groups work towards a Prince’s Trust qualification in enterprise skills.

CSR and engagement executive Louise Shankley said: “The aim of the game was to make a profit but we saw so much creativity and enthusiasm for this project.

“At Macphie, we have teams dedicated to tracking emerging food trends and these pupils were on the ball with their concepts.

“Provenance is a key trend with consumers keen to know where their food is coming from and certain claims adding an element of quality or indulgence.

“Nostalgia is another huge trend in food right now with brands tapping into retro flavours and the comfort sought from childhood familiarities.”

Mackie Academy teacher Janet Duncan said: “This project takes our learners out of their comfort zone and gives them something to work towards out with the regular curriculum.

“As well as getting creative, for some, this is the first insight into the world of work.

“Going into a board room and presenting to industry professionals is a daunting prospect.

“But we were once again amazed by the confidence and professionalism of the groups.

“We wouldn’t be able to offer this experience without the help of Macphie so to have their continued support is incredible.”