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Blackpool work placement students end up launching own company

The students from 40 Day Technologies with mentors from Karma Applied Science of Squires Gate
The students from 40 Day Technologies with mentors from Karma Applied Science of Squires Gate

Most students on work experience might expect to do a bit of filing or photocopying or maybe answer the phone, but a group from Blackpool and The Fylde College ended up being helped to form their own company.

And now they have launched its first product a piece of software which can help care homes get all their records in order for watchdog, the Care Quality Commission.

Student Kallum Edwards with Neil Waring from Karma Applied Science.

Student Kallum Edwards with Neil Waring from Karma Applied Science.

The team have been on a 40 day work placement with Squires Gate healthcare software specialists Karma Applied Science.

Karma, which has a wide range of products from software to prosthetics, was approached by Blackpool and The Fylde College under a new Government backed project with charity The Challenge ahead of the introduction of T-Levels.

Karma bosses carried out interviews with the teenagers to find a team with the right skills set - software, marketing, design and business studies skills, then took them under their wing, gave them a brief and let them get on with the project.

And the students rose to the challenge to come up with a name for their company, 40 Day Technologies, and a useful product which they have called Audit Pathway.

Students from Blackpool and the Fylde College have set up their own business, 40 Day Technologies, with the help of Karma Applied Science.  Pictured are Lewis Smith, Natasha Govier, Connor Campbell, Kallum Edwards, Steph Peters, Harry Allen and Molly Rothwell.

Students from Blackpool and the Fylde College have set up their own business, 40 Day Technologies, with the help of Karma Applied Science. Pictured are Lewis Smith, Natasha Govier, Connor Campbell, Kallum Edwards, Steph Peters, Harry Allen and Molly Rothwell.

The computer programme allows owners of a care home to keep track of records, documentation, potentially saving both the managers and the CQC time with all records in one place.

The students developed the software, designed the way it looks on screen, and came up with the marketing with arms' length guidance from the bosses at Karma.

Steph Peters from Bispham, 19, was elected as the CEO of the team said the task was daunting at first but they all pulled together. She said: "We did not know what to expect at first, it has been eye-opening.

"Audit Pathway is a platform for the care industry.Ultimately it will reduce time and expenditure running the care home. We were told the end goal and set in the right direction but left to do the work ourselves."

Harry Allen from Out Rawcliffe, 18, was given the task of marketing director overseeing social media . He said: "It has been a brilliant experience. Karma have done the minimum so that we could get as much experience as possible.

"It is a simple but brilliant product. It helps run the care home more efficiently and helps the CQC too by putting all the information they need in one format."

The students efforts impressed the bosses at Karma Applied Science.

Chief Executive Hamish Hayes of the Klassiker House -based firm said although a lot of what they do is sensitive since it involves healthcare and confidential information, they thought having work placement students in was a good idea.

He said: "We are all very positive about Blackpool, we see it has huge capacity, especially with the enterprise zone, to be a technology and innovation hub. There is a national shortage of computer developers and we need our young people.

"When we were approached to take part, we thought it would be pointless to just invent some work for them to do, so we turned it around and challenged them to create their own company, to gain a wider experience and produce something useful.

"We have wanted to look at creating software like this but never had the time. They have done a fantastic job. We have learned from them too, they had no preconceptions of how things should be done, so it was interesting to see what they came up with. Their marketing of Audit Pathway has been impressive too, we have picked up ideas from them."

Simon Moppett, chief investment officer, said: "We worked with them to develop a product they could take to market. They have been an absolute pleasure to work with and they have also come up with a 38 Degrees campaign to raise the issue of bed blocking in the NHS which is something else they can work on in future."

Claire Simpson, Blackpool and The Fylde College's work placement co-ordinator, said the project with The Challenge was leading in to the Government's 40 day work placement schemes under the coming T-Levels.

She said: "This was very unusual and an innovative project and not what we were expecting at the start. It has given the students the chance to work on something important and we can see they have gained a lot of confidence in their own abilities. It has been a fantastic project."