Press Releases

Universities join forces to help local schools rise to the stock market challenge – University of Reading

Release Date : 12 July 2007

Young people from across Berkshire got a taste of the global trading floor thanks to two local universities.

The University of Reading and Thames Valley University have joined forces to bring the thrill of Wall Street to the Gordon Gekkos of the future through the Aimhigher Berkshire initiative, which helps young people consider education options open to them once they leave school.

Stock Market Challenge gave 100 Year 10 pupils the chance to experience the excitement of buying and selling shares on a live trading floor today (July 12). Aimhigher Berkshire is administered locally by the University of Reading, and this year the event was held at TVU for the first time.

Amar Basra, Operations Manager for Aimhigher Berkshire, said: "Stock Market Challenge is a great opportunity for young people to gain an understanding of finance and enterprise, while developing their communication and team work skills in an exciting work based scenario.

"Stock Market Challenge gave our pupils a valuable insight into how one of our most important business sectors works. For pupils looking to enter the job market or going into further and higher education in the next few years this event was an invaluable experience."

Stock Market Challenge recreates the theatre and atmosphere of a live trading floor as it would have been experienced by brokers in stock exchanges before share trading was computerised. Teams buy and sell shares in imaginary companies throughout a 'virtual' week in the life of a stock market compressed into two hours. As players are given information from TV and radio news reports, and teams compete to build the winning portfolio, the pressure around the trading pit creates a fast-moving and exciting event.

In addition to developing key skills in areas such as teamwork and communication, the activity is designed to introduce pupils both to the world of work and to the opportunities available them in higher education.

Each team of pupils began with £15,000 and the winning team was the one with the highest-valued portfolio at the closing bell. The event was won by a team from Langleywood School, with a closing fund of £181,600. In second place was a team from Denefield School.

This is the fourth year running that Aimhigher Berkshire has run the event.


Notes to Editors:

For further information please contact:

Jane Readings, Aimhigher Berkshire 0118 378 8881

Liam Barnes, Cause Direct Events 01225 484 721

Participating schools

Denefield School

Desborough School

Emmbrook School

Furze Platt School

John Madejski Academy

Langleywood School

Slough and Eton CE School

Ryeish Green School

Brakenhale School

More information about Aimhigher Berkshire:

Aimhigher Berkshire is administered by the University of Reading and works in partnership with various schools, colleges etc in the area and helps young people from Berkshire to think about the education options open to them and to aspire to Higher Education.

Aimhigher is a national programme run by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) with support from the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS). Originally launched in September 2001, as Excellence Challenge, Aimhigher aims to widen participation in higher education (HE) by raising the awareness, aspirations and attainment of young people from under-represented groups.

The programme particularly focuses on young people from disadvantaged social and economic backgrounds, some minority ethnic groups and people with disabilities.

In August 2004 Aimhigher joined with the HEFCE / LSC-led university outreach programme Partnerships for Progression to form a unified national outreach programme operating across England on a national, regional and area basis.

The role of Aimhigher is to:

• Raise aspirations and motivation to enter HE among young people from under-represented groups, in line with the Government's target that by the year 2010, 50% of those aged between 18 and 30 should have the opportunity to benefit from HE

• Raise attainment of potential students from under-represented groups so that they gain the academic or vocational qualifications that will enable them to enter HE

• Raise awareness and understanding of the different progression routes into HE via vocational courses – so that prospective students understand that A-levels are not the only option

• Offer information, advice and guidance to potential students and their teachers and families

Cause Direct Events

Stock Market Challenge is produced by Cause Direct Events. The company specialises in the management of activities for schools that help develop pupils' enterprise education, financial capability and key skills.


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