Westgate Oxford challenge invites students to reinvent vacant retail unit

Westgate Oxford’s Made in Oxford enterprise challenge was launched on January 15, involving students from Greyfriars Catholic School and Oxford Spires Academy.

The most recent victors were from the ‘Greyfriar Girls’ team of Greyfriars Catholic School, Oxford, in November 2023.

This year sees a fresh challenge for the youngsters to get involved with, as students will be tasked with transforming an unoccupied unit for the advantage of the Oxfordshire public and visitors.

The students engaged in three seminars with themes on placemaking, guest experience and customer insights, and responsible consumerism, sustainability and community, before coming up with a design for their retail outlet.

The next stage will see the teams presenting their plans to a panel of experts, employing the knowhow gained from the workshops.

The teams will present their sustainable retail outlet development plans from the root concept and interpretation of their core audience to their marketing and design plan.

The concluding presentations are set to include a diverse set of requirements from labelled sketches and sample social media content to sustainability notes about the unit.

The Made in Oxford initiative is intended to underscore the crucial role the younger generation can have on the shaping of the retail terrain as a dynamic source of positive change inside communities.

It aims to motivate young people to conceive innovative retail outlets and consider the impact of retail space on the local community.

Centre director at Westgate Oxford, Brendan Hattam, said: “The insight that we can gain from the students’ perspectives through ‘Made in Oxford’ is invaluable to the successful future planning for Westgate Oxford.

“Listening to the opinions of the younger generation helps us continue to bring compelling retail experiences to our guests, that reflect their needs and interests.

“We are looking forward to the final presentations in March, to see what innovative ideas have come from the participants.”

The educational project is a collaboration between Westgate Oxford, parent company Landsec and the Ahead Partnership, and is financially supported by the Landsec Futures Fund.

It’s expected that a further 200 Oxfordshire pupils will benefit from the scheme.

Programme manager at Ahead Partnership Georgina Johnson, said: “We’re delighted to be delivering the fourth ‘Made in Oxford’ challenge.

“We’re so grateful to the team at Westgate Oxford for continuing to commit their time, wisdom, and skills to support young people in their community.

“It’s especially important that we give young people opportunities to visit and experience workplaces so that they can face the future with more confidence.”

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