Soberdrive has skills for the future

Soberdrive from Cirencester College were recently awarded first place in Hyundai Motor UK’s third annual ‘Skills for the Future’ competition, held at its Training Academy in High Wycombe.

Of the five participating teams, Soberdrive were chosen by the five-strong judging panel thanks to their innovative and unique product, excellent presentation and teamwork skills. The team created a device that fits perfectly onto a car key, turning it into a portable breathalyser – the device would then advise if the user was over the legal alcohol limit.

Tony Whitehorn, Hyundai’s President and CEO, commented, ‘All of the judges were so impressed with the calibre of each of the ideas put forward by the students. It was incredibly difficult to choose a winner, but the Soberdrive team clinched it thanks to their strong presentation, their professional attitudes, and, of course, their truly unique and creative product.’

‘It’s so important that we support the business leaders of tomorrow, and Hyundai’s ‘Skills for the Future’ initiative allows us to do that. I hope that this experience stays with each of the students when they leave education and enter the business world.’

George Kershaw Houghton, managing director, Soberdrive, explained, ‘’Skills for the Future’ has allowed us to do things that we never thought would be possible, it’s taught us invaluable lessons which we’ll all be able to take with us for the rest of our working lives. It’s a really good feeling to know that we created something from scratch, which could potentially be a really successful product and business.’

In October 2014, each school was tasked with creating a business from scratch, allocating each member of the team with a role: from marketing director to finance director. All businesses were asked to develop a new product or service that has a connection to the car industry and its needs. With the help of a link teacher, and a mentor from Hyundai Motor UK, the students presented their products and business plans to the judging panel, which included: Tony Whitehorn, Kenny Hwang and Andrew Cullis from Hyundai Motor UK, as well as Phillip Perera and Omar Farag from loose leaf tea company, PHOM.

PHOM was originally started when Phillip and Omar competed in Hyundai’s ‘Brilliant Young Entrepreneurs’ competition, eventually receiving financial backing of £15,000 from the company. As the business began to grow, Phillip and Omar took their product on the well-known TV programme, Dragon’s Den, securing an incredible £50,000 from Dragon Kelly Hoppen.

Soberdrive will go on to compete in the European finals that will take place in Prague, Czech Republic between 8 -10 June. In Praque, the winning team will hold the title of ‘Best Skills for the Future Student Company in Europe’.