The first roadshows have now taken place (see picture) and received a wonderful response from very enthusiastic students.

At the first event, at Palmer’s College, 32 teams were signed up.

Our project co-ordinator Lucy Harris said: “It was a brilliant start with 32 teams of young people recruited. There was a fantastic buzz around Palmer’s about the project. The young people were not only asking about prizes, they wanted to know about ‘Team Thurrock’ and the challenges as well.”




25 March 2010

Are you up for the Next Top Boss challenge?

-Team Thurrock launches challenge for borough’s teenagers -

It’s time to team up for Next Top Boss, the Thurrock-based initiative designed to open up a whole range of career opportunities for 17-19 year olds.

Whether you fancy yourself as the next Alan Sugar, a premiership football coach or an eco-champion – Next Top Boss is for you.

Prizes for the challenge-based competition include vouchers, football coaching courses, work placements, experience and permanent jobs.  Every participant will also receive formal accreditation, training and the opportunity to develop skills to boost their CVs.

Running alongside the challenges, which are designed to develop business skills, will be a range of free experience days, showcasing the range of national and international opportunities available to teenagers in Thurrock. 

Entrants can see behind the scenes of Lakeside, Procter & Gamble, and the Royal Opera House, take part in fashion photoshoots with Marks and Spencer, get involved in community and environmental schemes with RSPB or find out how RWEnpower provides electricity.

The initiative brings together 21 of the borough’s top organisations - ranging from government to retailers, manufacturers to charities, culture to education under the banner of “Team Thurrock”. 

Entrants can sign up individually or as a team, and will be allocated a mentor who will guide them through a series of business style challenges (similar to those on reality TV series The Apprentice).  The competition will run from May through to September, culminating in a glittering awards ceremony in November.

Next Top Boss is being organised by Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation, which works to grow the Thurrock economy, creating jobs and boosting business as well as improving the environment and making Thurrock a better place to be.

The scheme which is in its first year, is being co-funded by Thurrock Council and has already received backing from The Apprentice star Baron Alan Sugar and Communities and Local Government minister Shahid Malik.

Juliet Sychrava, Marketing and Communications Director of Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation, commented; “Next Top Boss brings together some of the borough’s biggest businesses and shines the spotlight on the range of opportunities available to Thurrock’s teenagers.

“It has been designed to help young people in our local area to develop the skills needed to become our next generation of business leaders.  Taking part in Next Top Boss will open up a range of possibilities to entrants and give them exposure to careers they may never have realised are available to them here in Thurrock.”

Thurrock Council Leader, Garry Hague, Leader of Thurrock Council added; “Over the coming years hundreds of millions of pounds is to be invested in Thurrock creating many thousands of new jobs and many business opportunities. It is initiatives like the Next Top Boss that will help develop the skills needed for our young people to take full advantage of the opportunities this investment will bring.

Paralympian and Next Top Boss ambassador, Danny Crates, who is Thurrock born and bred, added; “In my experience, people from Thurrock love a challenge and this competition is designed to help young people to develop skills, gain confidence and build the contacts they will need to gain a firm foothold on the career ladder and give them a springboard to success.”

To catch the Next Top Boss roadshow team, visit:

·         25 – 26 March     South Essex College, Luker Road Campus, Southend

·         29 March             Havering College, Ardleigh Green Campus, Hornchurch

·         7 April                  Learning Shop, George Street, Grays

·         8 – 14 April          Lakeside Shopping Centre, West Thurrock Way, Grays

·         20 April                South Essex College, Woodview Campus, Grays

·         21 April                South Essex College, Nethermayne Campus, Basildon

·         22 April                Learning Shop, George Street, Grays

·         23 April                Havering College, Quarles Campus, Harold Hill

·         29 April                Palmer’s College careers day    

So if you want to see what makes the country’s first shopping centre run so smoothly, how Procter & Gamble and Unilever became international household names or what makes the Royal Opera House world famous – and how you can be involved – sign up for Next Top Boss!

To find out more, sign up to take part or register a team, visit or call 01708 899388 before 30 April 2010.


Next Top Boss


Next Top Boss is a challenge competition based on a reality show format but with a serious purpose. It has three key goals:

·         to open the doors of the working world to young people with limited opportunity or ambition – and to build the
          next generation of business leaders
·         to bring together local organisations – colleges, government and business – to help young people and solve local
·         to promote Thurrock as a place to do business.                                    


The Challenges

Competitors will work in teams to solve a series of local and business challenges. The competition will test their ability to make and use relationships, come up with ideas and work together.

1)    Team branding challenge – we will form 100 teams. Teams will meet at a team launch event and come up with their
       own name and brand to be worn on a T shirt – in the first mini challenge 

2)    Destination Thurrock challenge – a challenge to promote inward investment to Thurrock either by attracting tourists
       or new businesses

3)    Green and Clean challenge – a challenge to make Thurrock a better place to live and work

4)    Down to Business challenge – Team Thurrock will prepare a number of real-life problems related to their own
       organisation that need resolving. 

Each challenge will test teams’ ability to:

·         Engage stakeholders and build contacts – in order to shape their response to the challenge

·         Use and interpret data to make it robust and relevant

·         Understand the Thurrock context and make their response appropriate

·         Develop a realistic but sufficiently ambitious response

·         Show value for money.

About Skills in Thurrock

Thurrock is below the national average when it comes to skills – jobs tend to be low value and low skills. Young people often lack understanding of how to build a career – and the geography means that while there are major employers in the area they are often not accessible or visible.

Most management level personnel in Thurrock either live in the borough and commute to London – or live in London or other counties and commute to Thurrock. While many local employers lack the skills and managers they need – and although they can import people, they need to grow local and more permanent talent.

Next Top Boss will broker a relationship between colleges and workplaces, helping to inform and educate a generation of local young people about the opportunities on their doorstep – and make them workplace ready.

About the Partners – Team Thurrock

Twenty one top organisations are now on board, making up Team Thurrock and representing manufacturing, the service sector, retail, education and the arts.

The partners include:

·         Best Buy

·         Canute

·         Communities and Local Government

·         Havering College

·         Lakeside

·         Marks and Spencer

·         Palmer’s College

·         Petroplus

·         Port of Tilbury

·         Procter & Gamble

·         Royal Opera House

·         RSPB

·         RWEnpower

·         South Essex College

·         Thurrock Council

·         Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation

·         University of East London

·         Unilever

·         Veolia

·         Vertex

·         Vopak