Macphie Serves Up Souper Challenge - Macphie

Taking inspiration from the BBC hit show, the UK’s leading independent food ingredients manufacturer, Macphie, set 120 first pupils at Banchory Academy an Apprentice-style challenge to test their business skills. The “Souper Tuesday” challenge gave the pupils an opportunity to form companies and compete to launch their own brand of soup and bread.

Those with a talent for art got busy creating their packaging designs in the art department. In home economics, the budding chefs chopped vegetables and baked bread. In ICT,  business cards, posters and brochures were created, and along the corridor in the music department, a promotional radio jingle was composed. They had to manage a budget of £600 to pay for ingredients, services and materials. They set up a trade show to launch their product and performed their radio jingle to a panel of judges. Each team was assigned an external business adviser who mentored them through the day.

The winning team “The Fresh Soup Company” developed a delicious vegetable soup. Imogen Mawby (12) took on the role of chief executive for the day, she said: “Many of the children were impressed with the quality of our low fat soup that comes in a funky microwavable carton. We had great fun on the day and learned about managing money and running a business.”

Macphie received a Food and Drink Federation Community Partnership award for its commitment to education, and is extremely proud of its schools industry challenge, which aims to develop productive links with local schools to demonstrate the diversity of challenging and rewarding careers that can be found within the food industry.

Macphie’s schools industry challenge has been particularly well received for the way in which it makes direct links to the Curriculum for Excellence. But it is also the enthusiasm with which the company has worked in close partnership with local schools over a period of many years that has struck a chord with pupils, parents and teachers. Over the years, in excess of 3,000 school children in the north-east have taken part in a Macphie challenge.

Having developed the Macphie schools industry challenge and worked extensively with both secondary and primary schools, Human Resources Director, Sylvia Halkerston, is ideally placed to extol the virtues of the benefits of forging relationships with education. She said: “As a company seeking to recruit the best talent, by engaging with young people when they are still at school and forming opinions, we can prove to them that ours is a vibrant industry with a wide range of opportunities that go beyond the production lines.”

“We can show them what normal recruitment procedures can’t and get them thinking beyond the scope of some of the current careers advice available to them.

Banchory Academy Rector, Sheila Di Maio agrees: “We’re very keen to work with companies like Macphie to deliver the experiences and outcomes for a Curriculum for Excellence. The challenge is very much a team effort, designed to stretch the pupils’ abilities, thus enabling them to see where the subjects taught can be applied to a real job. It develops a variety of skills including team work, decision making and communication. We’d like to thank Macphie and all of the other business advisers who gave up their time to work with the school.”

Other companies who kindly provided business advisers for the day included: Senergy,, Talisman, AMEC, Thorpe Molloy, Petrofac Training and John Clark Motor Group.