By Daniel Hunter

The CIPS 2015 Negotiation Challenge has begun with 18 academies initially participating to win.

The annual competition has been running since 2012 in partnership with the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy network across the UK, and involving over 200 young people aged between 16-19 years old. After the initial elimination rounds, six teams of four will then be selected to go through to the grand final on 12th of February 2015 at Heathrow Airport.

The CIPS Negotiation Challenge is designed to raise the profile of procurement and supply management as an early career choice for young people as well as equipping participating students with active skills using a ’negotiation toolkit’, and perfecting the art of persuasion and influence in business.

The challenge is designed to not only help students develop new knowledge and skills but also to enable them to gain confidence to help them in the global business world. The grand final will include a simulated business game where students will have to become property developers, negotiating with each other to ensure the most profitable and successful outcome for their business.

The winning team will be presented with an award and will be featured in Supply Management magazine, which is circulated to over 40,000 procurement professionals around the world. Alongside this the successful team will be invited to attend the CIPS Annual Conference in October 2015.

David Noble, CIPS CEO said: “It’s encouraging to see that there are so many young entrepreneurs eager to take part in the Negotiation Challenge again this year, equipped with their flourishing business skills.

“We will continue to strive towards raising the profile of procurement careers to a younger generation. Often we hear from industry that procurement talent is often hard to find so CIPS has been working to build the profile of procurement as an excellent career for young people. Possessing skills, such as negotiation, sets young people in good stead for any career path they choose, but it’s particularly important in procurement and business. Partnering with the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy will hopefully help to bridge this talent gap, and nurture the future generation of procurement leaders.”

Alice Barnard, CEO of the Peter Jones Foundation, which is the charity that runs the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy, said: “We are delighted to be working once again with the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply on this very beneficial challenge. The personal qualities that the competition promotes in our Peter Jones Enterprise Academy students — such as confidence, creativity and the ability to negotiate and to think on their feet — are essential to their development as young entrepreneurs.

“It’s wonderful that the students can have such fun whilst refining the skills that will help them on the road to success. Challenges like this really do offer invaluable experience and are a huge asset to us as we strive to put enterprise at the heart of education in the UK.”

The challenge started in November last year with teacher-led sessions in each participating Peter Jones Enterprise Academy, supported by volunteer CIPS members. Teams of four competed within each academy, responding to a series of scenarios. Scored by the tutor and CIPS members, the winning team from each academy had to then submit a video of their answers and reasoning behind their choices. From here, the six submissions judged to be the best will be put through to a final hosted at London Heathrow Airport.

Last year saw Dudley College crowned winners for their work carried out in the final ‘Property Development Challenge’, which utilised their negotiation skills to buy and sell space to maximise their original property assets. This year’s finalists from the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy are as follows:

Amersham & Wycombe College
Dudley College
Leicester College
Peterborough Regional College
South Essex College
Oldham College

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