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17-19 year olds from across Thurrock and the surrounding area have come together for Brand Academy - the initial Next

Top Boss challenge - to find out all about branding, what brands mean to us and say about us.

The challenge, which launched last month, looked at brands ranging from McDonalds to the Beckhams, and set teenagers the challenge of selecting a brand name and strapline, designing a logo and filming an advert for their teams.

A collective of creative professionals including creative consultants, graphic designers, copywriters, design tutors, stage producers, drama teachers, a cameraman and even a stand up comedian were on hand to coach the groups through their first challenge.

The teams’ sketches and design briefs have now been worked up by a professional design team and reproduced on t-shirts, while their adverts are currently showcasing on Facebook and YouTube and Next Top Boss’ dedicated Brand Academy website.

Brand Academy is the first of four Next Top Boss challenges taking place over the summer, designed to give a fresh approach to career opportunities and whet young people’s appetite for business. 

The programme will be repeated again in the autumn, to give more young people the chance to join in.

Thousands of pounds worth of prizes are up for grabs, ranging from Lakeside and Best Buy vouchers through to work placements and permanent jobs.  In addition all entrants are being invited to take part in experience events with local organisations, which are throwing open their doors to show the vast assortment of careers available.

Next Top Boss has been created by Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation, and is co-funded by Thurrock Council, partnering with major national and international organisations and businesses across the borough including Royal Opera House, Marks and Spencer, Procter and Gamble, RSPB and RWEnpower.

Commenting on the first challenge, Chris Jensen, 17, an A level student from Grays, enthused; “It was interesting to find out how big companies decide on names and taglines and I really enjoyed the creative side of the evening.  We worked in a team with marketing professionals to develop our brand name - Integrate.  It was a really good night and I can’t wait for the next one!”

Next Top Boss project manager, Lucy Harris, added; “The level of talent on display so far has been brilliant.  The rooms have been buzzing with creative energy and the results from all the teams are outstanding. ”

All Next Top Boss events are free of charge.  To take part in the competition please visit www.nexttopboss.co.uk or call 01708 899388.