Portsmouth High girls have recipe for career success

Year 10 and Year 11 girls at Portsmouth High School joined forces, post mock GCSEs, to spend a day with award winning drinks company, Cawston Press and career coach and founder of Eyes Wide Opened, Alastair Creamer. 

The girls took part in a Dragon’s Den style workshop where they designed, created and marketed a new smoothie for Cawston Press.

The day included learning how to make a new fruit juice from raw ingredients, designing the bottles and labels, marketing the product and finally presenting to a panel to pitch their ideas.

‘My father once said, “I don’t mind what you do so long as it’s something you love,” said Alastair. ‘To date I’ve had four careers: in business, the arts, education and as an entrepreneur. I co-founded Eyes Wide Opened in response to my Dad’s words – to help people find work they love.

‘People need a range of skills to successfully navigate this rapidly changing world,’ he continued. With the help of Cawston Press, we wanted to give the girls an inspiring and real day that links with their futures; by designing a juice, the girls will use a range of skills from scientific and creative based skills to softer ones such as language and empathy. 

‘How you collaborate with a team is probably the most critical skill you have in business.  When you are at school the day is about you but at work it’s about how you interact with others by listening and engaging.’

Steve Kearns, Managing Director of Cawston Press, and his team, led the girls in the designing of a soft drink.  ‘In teamwork like this,’ he said, ‘we use the words “psychological safety”.

‘We want the girls to be able to speak out about their ideas and have a chance to say and do what they want to without being frowned upon.  We are giving the girls opportunities to use skills, have experiences and use their initiative which goes beyond, and compliments, the normal curriculum.’

Liberty Allison, from Year 11, was excited about the day.

‘I’m a foodie, so I’m interested in how you get from a fruit to a juice but I’m also interested in what goes on behind the scenes in a unique business like Cawston Press. I’ve taken the opportunity to talk to the staff here today to find out how they plan to reduce sugar in their drinks since the sugar tax has come in and I’ve also asked if I can do some work experience with them in London after my GCSEs. They’ve said yes.’

The girls spent the day making new blends of fruit juices and presented to a team of judges from the companies involved in the day. Prizes were awarded for presentation, team work, taste and overall concept.

‘The girls demonstrated exceptional levels of enthusiasm and creativity,’ said Mr John Paget-Tomlinson, Deputy Head, Academic. ‘They quickly settling to the task and working in teams to achieve shared goals. It was particularly impressive to see, with only limited rehearsal time, such professional presentations in front of hundreds. All the juices they produced could certainly be marketable.’