February, 2016

STEP Horticulture students from South West College (SWC) set up business ‘Oops-a daisy’ and won ‘Highly Commended’ in the Team Programme at Young Enterprise Event and now move on to a regional competition against local schools.


The Young Enterprise Team Programme is an exciting project that allows students aged 15-19+ who have mild to moderate learning difficulties or are studying for Entry Level or Level 1 qualifications.


Seventeen of SWC’s students got involved in the programme last November. They came up with the business name ‘Oops-a-Daisy’ with strong symbolism for the students. The chain that can be made from daisies represented the group as an interlinked team and the ‘Oops’ highlighting that there is no such thing as a bad mistake. If a mistake is made, the team say ‘Oops,’ learn from the mistake and support each other in moving on to build a successful business.


The business idea was to sell products that could be gifts for seasonal times of the year. The students travelled to St. George’s Market in Belfast to set up a stall among 60 other school groups. Christmas products were on offer, from Nativity Ornaments, Coasters, and Christmas Tree Pots to Fairy Gardens. The team excelled in demonstrating skills across a number of key areas including, marketing, customer service, and product development with a score of 39 out of 50 and this placed them ‘Highly Commended’ in the team category and will now move on to the regional stage of the competition.


Conor McMahon, Head of Sales for ‘Oops-a-Daisy’ commented on the experience, he said: “I was voted as Head of Sales because I love selling and talking to people about how our products are made. At the market, if the customer didn’t come to us, we went to them. I really enjoyed it, I love being busy and it was a lot of hard work, with a lot more hard work to come.”


The next part of the competition will take place in Omagh on Thursday 4th February. The SWC team will go up against other schools in the Omagh area. They have come up with a number of new ideas and big plans for growth! On sale they will have gifts for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Easter with an opportunity to pre- order personalised products.


Clair McNulty, Head of Production, said “We hope to do our best and win the regional final and get to the Northern Ireland Finals at the Titanic Quarter in Belfast. There will be a lot of work ahead; we have to get a portfolio ready and practice for interviews and presentations. If we don’t win, we won’t give up. We want to keep this going no matter what.”


Tutor Jennifer Ward commented on the difference this has made to the students learning. She said:

“This has been a wonderful enhancement to the students’ learning and has been an invaluable experience for them, one that could not be gained in the classroom alone. This project is testament that living with a disability should not and does not stop our students’ achieving anything they wish, and working to their full potential.”


Mary Gormley, Learning support worker also added that “the sense of achievement the students have and the pride they take in their products is wonderful. I get so much joy in seeing this, and the improvement in team building is very obvious.”