Create Your Future: Students who will take over Barking and Dagenham Post revealed

Members of the takeover team include (front row from left) Jacob Ranson, Callum Butler, Oscar Bwamba

Members of the takeover team include (front row from left) Jacob Ranson, Callum Butler, Oscar Bwambale, Kristian Pierre-Samuel (back row from left) Michael Morar, Eryngyn Shkjeza, Steven Newberry, Sam Dixon, Emillie Rix, Ben Prayel. Other winners not pictured are Rheanna Stiles, Lawson Adomako Jnr, Sunita Dayanandan and Blaine Hickey - Credit: Archant

Students from Barking and Dagenham College spent two days last week standing before a judging panel and pitching their ideas, Dragons Den-style, in a bid to win a spot on the team taking over the Barking and Dagenham Post this summer.

Michael Morar, Eryngyn Shkjeza and Jacob Ranson - the 'Teen Scene' team

Michael Morar, Eryngyn Shkjeza and Jacob Ranson - the 'Teen Scene' team - Credit: Archant

Each of the 10 groups, comprising 17 individuals, had to come up with their own marketing plan to showcase the college to prospective students using innovative and original ideas across everything from traditional print to videos and social media.

Michael Morar, Eryngyn Shkjeza and Jacob Ranson - the 'Teen Scene' team

Michael Morar, Eryngyn Shkjeza and Jacob Ranson - the 'Teen Scene' team - Credit: Archant


Michael Morar, Eryngyn Shkjeza and Jacob Ranson - the 'Teen Scene' team

Michael Morar, Eryngyn Shkjeza and Jacob Ranson - the 'Teen Scene' team - Credit: Archant

Media student Steven Newbury almost didn’t enter the competition at all, only applying after his English teacher Pamela Dheer talked him into it.

Michael Morar, Eryngyn Shkjeza and Jacob Ranson - the 'Teen Scene' team

Michael Morar, Eryngyn Shkjeza and Jacob Ranson - the 'Teen Scene' team - Credit: Archant

He couldn’t believe his ears when he found out he had made the final 14 and insists it was a massive personal confidence boost.

“It wasn’t actually my idea to enter, if it wasn’t for my teacher I wouldn’t be part of that team,” he said. “She talked me into it and she was thrilled when I told her the news.

“I personally never expected to go through, I had to double check and go through my emails.

Most Read

“I wasn’t happy with my pitch at all and assumed I was out of it as soon as it finished, so I was delighted when I found out - my parents were thrilled too and we all had a celebratory Chinese meal.

“It’s a massive confidence boost for me because I found the process really tough and nerve-wrecking but I now know I can present to people.”

Steven hopes to go into media production industry, possibly radio or maybe television, but believes the experience of working on a top local newspaper could potentially see him pursue a different career path.

“The takeover will look fantastic on my CV and who knows where it will lead,” he added.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity and something really different and I’m really looking forward to it.


Business management student Lawson Adomako Jnr entered the competition as part of a team of three but one day dreams of becoming a manager for a human resources firm.

He believes he will be able to develop his team-work skills even further through working on the Post.

“It feels good to be selected,” he said. “We’ve been taught about starting our own business in class, which really motivated us to enter.

“There’s only so much you can learn in the classroom as well, business is all about getting involved in new opportunities, so this was too good a chance to miss.

“We’ve also been learning how to present in class which has really built up my confidence and really helped with through this process.”


Sunita Dayanandan had never entered a competition before in her life before Create Your Future came along.

The business management student says she was amazed just to make the original shortlist and is looking forward to trying something new.

Sunita said: “If I’m honest I never expected to get past the first round, when I made the shortlist I was I was like, Wow!

“My Mum was over the moon as well because I’ve never entered a competition before.

“It was pretty scary delivering the pitch and kind of surreal, but definitely a good experience, and who knows where it will lead.”

Sunita hopes to become an accountant one day and overcome her fear of public speaking to land herself a place on the winning team.

“I never used to present to people,” she explained. “Whenever we did in class I’d ask to go last when everyone else had left so to get this far is a massive confidence boost.


Although overjoyed to make the team, Emillie Rix admitted the X-Factor-style tension of waiting for the results was almost too much to bare.

She said: “It was a nerve-racking process afterwards though because I was expecting a call and they kept me hanging on.

“I was sat there checking my phone every five minutes which was nerve-racking really.

“I can’t wait now, it’ll just give me chance to grow and learn in a brand new experience.

“Journalism’s not something I’ve really thought of before, so it’s a fantastic opportunity that very few people will get, and who knows it could lead down a different route.

The fashion design student used her own personal experiences through her pitch, to claim a place in the final group.

She added: “I originally went to sixth form, but didn’t enjoy my time there. Coming to Barking & Dagenham College opened my eyes and I enjoy it so much more.

“I want to use this experience to make sure people consider all their options.”


Oscar Bwambale studies animation and hopes to work in the app-developing business one day.

Never one to turn down a good opportunity, he admitted he wasn’t expecting to get anywhere with his entry, but is already learning new skills from the process so far.

“I’m looking forward to getting involved because I think I’ll gain a lot of experience about working life and having a proper job.

“We’ve already had to demonstrate the ability to carefully plan things and successfully execute those plans.

“I had no idea if it’d lead anywhere but I tried my best and am looking forward to trying something different.”


Sports student Sam Dixon combined his love of technology and outdoor activities to create a video showcasing a day in the life of a student at the college.

Strapping a GoPro – a hardy portable camera – to his chest using a harness, Sam filmed every step of his day in super speed and edited it all to a thumping soundtrack.

The 17-year-old sport development coaching and fitness student came up with the idea after recently relocating to Harold Hill from Surrey and realising he knew very little about life at the Rush Green college.

“My biggest worry about going to college was the first encounters and fear of not knowing where to go and what to expect,” he said.

“This is when I decided to create a video showing future potential students what a day in the life of a Barking and Dagenham College student was like.”


Trainee hairdresser Rheanna Styles said she wanted to use the Post to help inspire people with learning difficulties.

The 16-year-old, who herself suffers from dyslexia, delivered a confident pitch to the six “dragons” yesterday.

She said she wanted to generate more interest in the college’s facilities, such as its professional standard salon, and use the newspaper to inform people about learning difficulties.

Asked why she wanted to become a part of the takeover team, she said: “It’s the fact that I could inspire someone else – that is what I want.”

She said she would like to be an “ambassador for dyslexia” in the college, adding: “I want people to know that they can do it and that there are ways around it.

“If you work with it you can achieve what you want in life and reach your potential.”

One of her ideas included using different coloured backgrounds in print, which can help some dyslexic suffers to read better.


Trio “Teen Scene” were eager to showcase the college’s illustrious roster of alumni – including Hollywood actor Idris Elba and sprinter Adam Gemili.

Business students Michael Morar, 16, Eryngyn Skjeza, 19, and Jacob Ranson, 18, presented their idea to use videos and interviews with successful former college students.

They said their campaign could run for six weeks and utilise social media to reach as many potential future students as possible.

The group also explored the idea of bringing in new and vibrant colours to the Post’s design, such as the red of local team Dagenham and Redbridge FC, in a bid to appeal to younger readers.

When asked why they had applied to be on the student takeover team, Michael said: “I took this opportunity because I’m interested in this kind of subject.

“I have always been interested in journalism and newspapers.”

Eryngyn Shkjeza said: “This is something new for me and it is something I would like to learn and see if I like it.”


For more on the Create Your Future project, which will see up to a dozen students takeover the Barking and Dagenham Post for a week this summer, click below.

Read more:

Create Your Future