Posted on 7 February 2013
Matt Long was nominated for the award by the University of York’s Widening Participation team, which runs the Big Deal competition in partnership with the Excellence Hub for Yorkshire and Humber and education charity Brightside.
A 10-week enterprise competition for students in Years 9 or 10 who have been identified as high achieving, the Big Deal involves teams of students competing against each other to develop a business plan, which they have to pitch at a final Dragons' Den event.
The teams also complete an online curriculum (using the innovative website www.bigdealblogs.com), with mentoring support from professionals who work across a range of business areas.
The University nominated a number of Big Deal mentors, with Craig Bloodworth, from business analysis company The Information Lab, and Matt Long, a Commercial Director for Saatchi & Saatchi X, both shortlisted. Matt Long went on to win the top Industry Mentor prize at the event hosted by Deloitte in London.
During the Big Deal competition, Matt mentored three students who designed the “Wander Wellies”, an innovative wellington design which fused fashion and practicality.
It is fantastic that two of our mentors were shortlisted by Brightside and is great recognition of all the time and effort that goes into the competition
Lorna Bowling, Widening Participation team
For Matt the best moment of the competition was receiving an email from the mother of one of the young people he worked with saying that her daughter had gained new direction in life and had become determined to get into the creative industries.
He said: “That made a big impression on me because it shows you can make a real difference to somebody’s life.”
Craig Bloodworth, who has been a mentor for Big Deal Blogs for the past four years, says the experience has taught him essential skills for his own career. “It’s helped me to understand how to articulate what I do in my own job more clearly,” he said. “Ementoring also teaches you to be dynamic with your own time when you’re balancing it around a busy career.”
Lorna Bowling, from the University’s Widening Participation team and Big Deal Project Co-ordinator, said: “It is fantastic that two of our mentors were shortlisted by Brightside and is great recognition of all the time and effort that goes into the competition. Most importantly though, it shows how beneficial mentoring is and just what a difference it can make to young people’s lives. We were thrilled that Matt won Industry Mentor of the Year.”