Dragons Apprentice Launched

Students compete in The Dacorum Dragons Apprentice Challenge to earn money for charity

Students from schools in Dacorum and Harpenden are putting their entrepreneurial skills to the test in The Dacorum Dragons Apprentice Challenge. I am delighted to say that HHBA has been matched with an incredibly bright team from The Hemel Hempstead School to raise funds for Mencap Dacorum.

Eight teams of students will be putting their entrepreneurial skills to the test as young Apprentices in the Connect Dacorum Dragons’ Apprentice Challenge in a bid to raise money for charity. The challenge pairs teams of Year 12 students with local business people (a Dragon) and each team is then matched with a local charity or community group. They are then tasked with developing business strategies and delivering their ideas to turn £100 of seed capital into £1,000 or more, with all profit generated going directly to the team’s charity.

The High Sheriff of Hertfordshire Lionel Wallace DL launched the challenge on Tuesday, September 28. At the launch on Tuesday, held at John F Kennedy School, Connect Dacorum Manager, Cindy Withey, matched the teams with a Dragon and with the charities and community groups that each team will support.

The Apprentices then spent time getting to know about the work and objectives of the charities and community groups and were introduced to their Dragon. Out team, in the space of under an hour, they democratically elected a team leader, secretary, marketing officer and finance manager as well as brain storming over a dozen really credible business ideas. A credit to the School, I can’t wait to see what they can do!

Over the next few months the teams will work closely with their Dragons to devise business-based projects to raise money and awareness for their charities. With guidance from their Dragons, the teams will learn about entrepreneurship, managing a business, communications, finance, organisation and other job related skills, all of which will be of positive and practical value in the next stage of their education and development.

Lionel Wallace, High Sheriff of Hertfordshire said “We need this all over the county! Well done Cindy Withey and all the young leaders, Dragons and charities. Really quite excited about all the money making business ideas that will be birthed in the process.”

The teams can win awards for the most money earned, most innovative product/service or business idea, best example of close co-operation between team and charity, best presentation and best display panel.

After the final reports have been judged by a panel of Super Dragons, the teams will deliver a presentation at the awards event on March 28, 2022, in a bid to become the overall winner of the 2021/22 Challenge in Dacorum.

Over the past eight years, 508 pupils have taken part in the challenge and have raised over £88,000 for charities in Dacorum.

Cindy Withey, project leader of the Dacorum Challenge, said: “We’re overwhelmed with the interest and excitement that the Challenge generates each year and I’m excited to see what the teams develop over the next 5 months and look forward to our awards evening.”


Here are this year’s teams:


  • Ashlyns School – Team 1 will be working with Whitestar Solutions  (Dragon) and raising money for Community Action Dacorum


  • Ashlyns School – Team 2 will be working with Atlas Copco (Dragon) and raising money for Waterways Experiences


  • The Hemel Hempstead School will be working with Hemel Hempstead Business Ambassadors (Dragon) and raising money for Dacorum Mencap



  • John F Kennedy Catholic School – Team 2 will be working with Metro Bank (Dragon) and raising money for Blue Tangerine


  • John F Kennedy Catholic School – Team 3 will be working with SWARCO (Dragon) and raising money for Watford FC Trust


  • Sir John Lawes School, Harpenden, will be working with Computacenter (Dragon) and raising money for Gaddesden RDA


  • Sir John Lawes School, Harpenden, will be working with the Katalyst Coach (Dragon) and raising money for Herts Inclusive Theatre.

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