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Search to find most enterprising student in Highlands and Islands

9th September 2007

The search to find the most enterprising student in the Highlands and Islands concludes this week at the Shell STEP final in Inverness.

Students will battle it out on Wednesday 12 September at Cowan House - the Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) head office in Inverness. They will present their enterprising ideas to a panel of local business experts, and the winning student will earn a place in the Scottish final at the end of this month.

STEP, the Shell Technology Enterprise Programme is a UK-wide student placement scheme backed by Shell UK and administered in the region by local enterprise companies in Inverness, East Highland and Moray.

Some of the students taking part in the programme are from as far a field as Taiwan, Poland and Spain, but currently study in the Highlands and Islands. Each year the STEP programme gives students relevant experience of the world of work through eight-week placements run through the summer. Unlike more general work experience schemes, STEP offers students in their second or penultimate year the chance to get their teeth into a specific project designed to help the business improve its performance.

The overall winner and the runner up will be announced at the end of the day receiving a 250 and 100 prize respectively. Both will be entered into the regional awards for Scotland and Northern Ireland on 26 September at The Hub, Glasgow.

The winners of the regional award will be invited to the UK final on 10 October at The LSO, St Lukes, London with a chance to win 1,000.

Gavin Mackay, development manager at HIE Moray said: "Making the transition from higher education to the workplace can be challenging. The Shell STEP programme provides students with hands-on coaching to improve their skills and an insight into the world of small and medium enterprise that may help them land their first job. For local companies, it's a valuable chance to get projects off the ground that would otherwise not have been completed, giving them access the growing pool of talent being generated by the UK's universities. Students taking part in the programme are also in with a chance to compete for the title of UK's most enterprising student."

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