GCU Professors Challenge welcomes 600 pupils

13 June 2014

Record-breaking cyclist and broadcaster Mark Beaumont and top Scottish weightlifter Louise Mather teamed up with more than 600 school pupils from across Glasgow to celebrate the upcoming Commonwealth Games and the launch of GCU’s annual Professor’s Challenge.

The Professor’s Challenge is one of many initiatives undertaken by GCU as part of its commitment to widening access to higher education and the University’s motto, For the Common Good.

Mark recently returned to the city after following the Queen’s Baton across 71 Commonwealth Nations and Louise is training hard for the Games after earning her place on Scotland’s weightlifting squad.

The sports stars took part in the first day of this year’s Professor’s Challenge on Tuesday, June 10, to inspire hundreds of S5/6 pupils as they embark on their final year at school. The Challenge was run over four days on campus, finishing later today, Friday, June 13.

Pupils from each school have spent two days at GCU. The participating schools are St Roch’s Secondary, St Andrew’s Secondary, Lochend Community High, Smithycroft Secondary, St Margaret Mary’s Secondary, Whitehill Secondary, Drumchapel High, All Saints Secondary, St Mungo’s Academy, John Paul Academy and Springburn Academy.

During the challenge, pupils were split into student mentor-led teams and set a marketing brief. Industry leaders were on hand to assist pupils in cultivating their ideas and honing their presentation skills before pitching their campaign to the panel of judges.

This year, they have addressed the following brief: ‘How do we leave a health and wellbeing legacy for Glasgow’s youth following the Commonwealth Games? Pitch your idea in five minutes for either a product or a service’.

Louise revealed to pupils how her determination to succeed has taken her to the top of her chosen sport less than two years after trying it out for the first time.

She said: “Sport has brought me great opportunities - I get to speak at events such as the Professor’s Challenge at GCU and I get to compete in the Commonwealth Games in front of a home crowd, and my family and friends, which will be incredible.”

Mark described how his childhood dream became a reality when he embarked on a round-the-world record breaking cycle in 2008 after completing his economics degree at university. He circumnavigated the globe in 194 days and 17 hours, cycling 18,296 miles and breaking the previous Guinness World Record by 81 days.

Mark told pupils: “I travel the world and tell stories of different cultures. It started off with expeditions: I pedalled around the world in record-breaking time when I left university and have gone on to climb mountains, row through the Arctic, row the Atlantic, and others.

“Some of these expeditions have been successes and some have been absolute failures. But, and this is important, some which on paper have been failures are the ones I have learned most from.”

The Professor’s Challenge provides pupils with an opportunity to develop key skills that will aid them throughout their final year at school and beyond. It is one of GCU’s UK Recruitment and Outreach (UKRO) activities, and involves schools that work with UKRO’s Caledonian Club and Schools and Colleges Engagement Transition Team (SCETT).

The event’s supporters include IBM and Scottish Enterprise. It has also received support from the Big Lottery Celebrate Fund.

GCU and Glasgow 2014

To find out more about GCU and the Commonwealth Games visit GCU’s dedicated Glasgow 2014 pages.