Now in its twelfth year, the Real Business Challenge is a national competition from Coca-Cola European Partners that’s designed to educate students in secondary schools across England, Scotland, and Wales, and help them gain the skills they need to have a competitive edge in the job market.

Going from strength to strength, the number of schools entering the competition has increased year on year, with a record number of over 870 schools entering this year, reaching close to 89,000 students.

For this year’s challenge, student teams were tasked with designing a litter awareness campaign to encourage members of the public in their local area not to drop litter. The theme was built from the insight that positive peer pressure amongst under 25 year olds is effective at reducing littering behaviour, a key finding from a recent joint research report by Coca-Cola European Partners and Keep Britain Tidy, which investigated the influences on littering by this age group.

For the second year running, this year’s Grand Final was split across two days, with students first attending a Parliamentary reception at the House of Commons. Here each team showcased their campaigns to a host of MPs, including Stephen Crabb, Secretary of State for Wales.

The second day - the Grand Final - saw students tasked with a new challenge to design a product made mainly from recycled materials. This included developing a business plan on how to take the product to market, developing a brand campaign to communicate its sustainability credentials, as well as retail programme for securing in-store visibility.

Students presented their ideas to a panel of industry experts including Trewin Restorick, CEO of charity organisation Hubbub, and Joanne Denney-Finch OBE, CEO of IGD, the global food and grocery experts.

This year's Real Business Challenge winners

A team of students from Cramlington Learning Village in the North East of England (pictured) were crowned this year’s Real Business Challenge winners and claimed not only a trophy, but a state-of-the-art 3D printer for their school.

“Despite being a small group, our students have shown incredible resilience faced with a very challenging task,” said Craig Baxter, teacher at Cramlington Learning Village. “They carried out all elements to a very high standard, allowing them to work on key skills such as communication and teamwork. I speak for the whole school when I say we are so proud of the team’s achievement and the creativity they have shown throughout the whole experience.”

The team fended off strong competition from ten other schools across Great Britain, including runners-up from Manchester High School for Girls and Harrow Way Community School in Hampshire.

The winning team from Cramlington Learning Village, North East England, who took home the Coca-Cola European Partners Real Business Challenge trophy.

All of the teams that took part in the Grand Final will also see their litter campaign poster designs developed and displayed at bus stops local to their school later in the year.

“Congratulations to Cramlington Learning Village on being crowned our 2015/16 Real Business Challenge champions,” said Gina Solimeno, Education Programme Manager, Coca-Cola European Partners. “The RBC continues to go from strength to strength, and the level of creativity and business nous we have seen from this all of this year’s competitors has been fantastic.”

To support the 2015/16 Real Business Challenge, Coca-Cola European Partners teamed up with multiple anti-litter campaign groups including Keep Wales Tidy, Keep Scotland Beautiful Hubbub and Clean Up Britain. Representatives from these groups have been on hand throughout this year’s challenge mentoring teams and joining the judging panels at regional finals.

Find out more about the Real Business Challenge here: