Some entrepreneurial spirit is being shared with Telford charities this week by students from the University of Birmingham, as part of an annual Community Challenge hosted by Capgemini.

Supported by Capgemini mentors, the week-long challenge is a unique chance for students to gain accelerated work experience and engage in business-orientated improvements – ranging from branding and fundraising to creating new revenue streams and plans to get more young people volunteering.

The challenge sees five student teams working to help a sustainable woodlands charity SmallwoodsTelford and Wrekin Council for Voluntary ServicesHome-Start Telford and Wrekin, and Rotary Club of Ironbridge to respond to real-life challenges. The Birmingham-based Edward’s Trust, which supports bereaved children and their families, is also taking part.

UoB students

Caption: Rising to Capgemini’s Community Challenge are (left to right) University of Birmingham students Harry Walker, Amrit Bains, Kim Goulthorp, Rocco Campanaro and Jake Nightingale.

The students have just one week to hear about their allocated project, meet their client and come up with a solution to their problem. At the end of the Challenge, the students will present their ideas to a large audience made up of members from the charities, staff from University of Birmingham and Capgemini, and a judging panel comprised of University and Capgemini representatives. A winning team will be announced after all the presentations have been given.

Bryony WhiteBryony White, Capgemini’s Community Challenge organiser, said: “The solutions which the students propose can be put into practice by the charity after the event, for example like the #GoRed marketing plan students developed for Midlands Air Ambulance which included turning the University of Birmingham’s iconic clock tower’s face red for a week in 2014. One of the student participants even completed some work experience with the charity.”

Emma Williams, a student at University of Birmingham, who took part in the challenge last year, said: “The week was both challenging and demanding and yet one of the most rewarding weeks of my life. I learned invaluable lessons, developed key skills which increased my employability and worked with experienced mentors who provided me with all the necessary support I needed.”

After experiencing at first-hand the potential of a rewarding career in a supportive environment, Emma applied to join Capgemini’s graduate scheme and starts at the end of this month.

It’s the fourth year the Community Challenge has been run in partnership with the University of Birmingham, meaning that throughout the years, 20 different local charities have been supported by over 100 students and 60 Capgemini employees.

You can keep up with their progress on Twitter by following #UoBCCC.