Bluestone launches SkyDome apprentice project with secondary school

Pupils at one Pembrokeshire school are being tasked with a major project which could help design part of Bluestone National Park Resort’s new £7m SkyDome project.

If successful, one pupil from Sir Thomas Picton School, in Haverfordwest could see their concept become a reality in the groundbreaking facility, which has been dubbed "a UK first". A group of 30 years nine pupils have been tasked with researching, planning, designing, and developing a restaurant or activity for the new SkyDome facility at the resort.

SkyDome, which secured planning consent in February, will comprise a transparent canopy, arched over an area the size of a football pitch. It will bring nature undercover, so guests can enjoy the fresh air, sit on the grass and play under the trees, whatever the weather. The pupils, who attended a launch event at Bluestone, will work alongside Bluestone employees and industry professionals who will act as their mentors throughout the three-month project. The aim is to give the group of students a practical experience and to show them the many career options that exist at Bluestone and in the hospitality industry.

“It’s the first time that we have done anything like this at Bluestone and we’re really excited about the process,” said Lucy Good, Learning and Development Manager at Bluestone. “We want it to be really engaging and more than just creating a poster. The pupils will learn about budgeting, staffing, health, and safety and take their concept all the way through to marketing and promotion.”

“There are nine stages in the process, starting with learning about the resort, the vision, and SkyDome. If they choose to create a restaurant they’ll need to come up with a theme and produce a menu, as well as choosing the chairs, tables, lighting, and finishing touches. If they create an activity they need to make sure that it’s on-brand, fits with our ethos, and is practical. We want to make it as realistic as possible, so the pupils will be working alongside the people who make those decisions full time here in the business.”

Once they have decided on their SkyDome project, pupils will pitch it to the heads of the respective department at Bluestone for feedback. They will then have the chance to work with the marketing team at Bluestone to develop a logo, social media marketing campaign, and a press release around their idea. In the final stage, they will present their idea to Directors and Bluestone’s CEO William McNamara, who presented his vision of the resort at the launch.

“We’re delighted to be working with Sir Thomas Picton School on this project. We recognise that the pupils taking part are at a pivotal point in their education with GCSE choices approaching,” said Mr. McNamara. “I hope that the task will inspire an entrepreneurial spirit in the group and encourage them to look at careers in our industry. I’m really looking forward to seeing the ideas that the students bring to the table. Not only are they working with a team who are creating the UK first, but there is also a chance that the winning idea could be put into production when SkyDome is complete!”

The project will culminate with an awards evening at Bluestone, attended by the pupils, their families, teachers, and members of the Bluestone team who have supported them along the way. The pupil who presents the best idea will win a holiday at the luxury resort for their family to enjoy and all participants will receive tickets to enjoy the Blue Lagoon Water Park.

Kate Hudson, deputy headteacher at Sir Thomas Picton School said, “The project will raise aspirations for our pupils whilst at the same time supporting them in developing vital employability and leadership skills. Bluestone has given the children a fantastic opportunity to work with a range of departments and experience different career opportunities which exist in the hospitality industry. The children are really looking forward to getting involved and working on their projects.”

SkyDome will create 55 jobs, adding to the 700 strong workforces, and will boost the local economy by over £21m over 10 years. Bluestone hopes to finish building the SkyDome, by Summer 2019.