Writtle University College (WUC) students are taking part in a three-day event from 6 - 8 March. The Innovation Weekender in Tunbridge Wells is supported by the EIRA project (Enabling Innovation: Research to Application). It encourages students to think creatively about issues faced by businesses while also developing employability skills.
Four WUC students and one staff member will attend the event this year. When they're not exercising their business-based problem-solving skills, the participants will have access to activities such as skiing, rock climbing and various water sports.
WUC's Dr Rob Gowers said: "Companies are looking for more than just an academic qualification in the graduates that they employ. Other key skills required are complex problem solving, team work, leadership and presentation skills. Such events allow students from WUC to develop these attributes and also enables them to network with students from other universities to work together on a real world business issue."
The Weekender, which is led by the University of Kent, will bring together 70 students from WUC and Kent and UEA, Essex and Suffolk. They'll collaborate in mixed teams, and enjoy an innovation challenge from global food and beverage business PepsiCo, home to brands including Walkers, Pepsi, Quaker and Tropicana.
Dannii Portsmouth, VP HR at PepsiCo UK & Ireland, said: "It is great to support The Innovation Weekender and present students with a typical challenge experienced by PepsiCo in the working world. We look forward to seeing what innovative ideas the next generation of future talent come up with."
Dr Kirstie Cochrane, Director of EIRA, said: "The EIRA project is excited to provide this opportunity to the student community from across our network. The Innovation Weekender has been designed to develop entrepreneurial skills and drive productivity in the region, enabling students to progress their start-up ideas."