ECO-friendly entrepreneurs at Stirling High have scooped a top national prize and are now in the running for a UK-wide award.

A conservation themed escape room company – Timescape – was created by six young people at the school and was crowned Scottish Company of the Year at the Young Enterprise Scotland (YES) Festival of Youth Awards at the start of June.

Along with beating 14 other finalists to the top gong, Stirling High’s talented team also won the Most Innovative Company accolade at the prize-giving event, which was streamed online due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. 

The successful six - Hope Wandless, Rebecca Mason, Kirsten McNaughton, Comhnall Ferguson, Olivia Thompson and Hannah McKenzie - will now go on to represent Scotland at the Young Enterprise UK Finals on June 17.

To reach this stage they have submitted a 10-page company report, a 15-slide visual pitch and taken part in a remote 15 minute interview with a panel of judges.

Convener of Stirling Council’s Children and Young People Committee, Cllr Susan McGill said: “Congratulations to the talented young people at Stirling High for these prestigious achievements which is recognition of their hard work, planning and innovation.

“The current pandemic has made the last few months a challenging time for everyone in our schools so this type of news gives us all a welcome lift. We wish the team from Stirling High all the best at the UK finals.”

Although the team had one eye on costs and profit, their main objective was to educate customers about conservation and planet earth in a fun and engaging way.

Their innovative project allowed them to start the conversation on the world's biggest environmental issues: deforestation, climate change, endangered species and more.

The group also operated a zero waste policy, with the aim of reusing and recycling all props and clues, while valued partnerships were formed with local eco-friendly and aware businesses.

Vice Convener of the Committee, Cllr Christine Simpson said: “Not only have the young people at the school shown their business acumen on the YES programme, they have educated a wider audience about important environmental issues.

“We are really proud of all the young people at Stirling High for their well-deserved national success and it’s also important to highlight the fantastic support and guidance from staff at school.”

Along with their awards, the six team members on the programme worked extremely hard individually and collectively to obtain a level 6 SCQF qualification, which was launched in August 2019 and is equivalent to a Higher.

The pupils were supported throughout the year by Link Teacher Natalie Campbell and Business Advisor Ian Wandless, who was named Business Advisor of the Year at the national awards.

Stirling High Headteacher Paul Cassidy said: “This is such a fantastic achievement and has come as the result of the team’s hard work and determination, especially when challenged by lockdown.

“Hope, Rebecca, Kirsten, Comhnall, Olivia and Hannah are amazing ambassadors for our school community; they have demonstrated innovative thinking, excellent communication skills and entrepreneurial excellence.

“I would like to thank Natalie Campbell for her hard work and time in supporting and guiding the team as the team’s Link Teacher as well as Ian Wandless who has been our school’s YES business advisor for over 8 years.

“Ian has given so much time and energy to our young people over the years. It is great to see Ian awarded YES Business Advisor of the Year."

Young Enterprise Scotland Chief Executive Geoff Leask said: “The success of the students from the Timescape team at Stirling High School is very much down to their hard work and Stirling High school’s recognition of the value that ‘learning by doing’ enterprise activities play in developing meta skills for the future of young people in life and work.

“The young people gaining an SCQF level 6 qualification for the first time is the icing on the cake.”