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Caithness News Bulletins July 2005

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Young Thurso air team fly through Youth Challenge
Four young air cadets from Thurso have beaten over 60 teams from around the Highlands to come second in this year's ICT Youth Challenge.

Keith Whitelaw, Ross Ventres, Jamie Munro and Brian Robertson from the 1769 Squadron Air Cadets, also known as Team Typhoon, stunned the judges with their presentation at the end of the gruelling five day 'HotHouse' final.

Hoping to continue their run of success the team are now planning to take their idea to take the hassle out of travelling with electricals further and build a working prototype.

Keith Whitelaw said: "The ICT Youth Challenge has been an excellent experience. Working with real business experts gave a good insight into industry and a head-start in the business world.

"We're planning to take our idea forward by applying for funds to build a working prototype. Hopefully we'll make a couple of million each and retire before we're twenty!"

Team Typhoon impressed the judges both with their idea for a universal fuse-less plug and their plans for marketing, product development and branding. During the HotHouse they were coached by experts from all areas of the business world before being judged both on their work and on a presentation they made on the last day.

Before leaving the HotHouse William Roe, Chairman of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), presented the team with a high-tech digital pen each. As winners, the Key Phone Cops from Charleston Academy in Inverness were given a laptop each and a trip to BT's research centre, Adastral Park, where they will see the communications tools of the future being developed.

Carroll Buxton, Chief Executive of Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise, said: "I am delighted that the team from Thurso did so well. The ICT Youth Challenge is a great opportunity for young people to get a taste of working in an innovative environment and pulling together a credible business proposition. We would certainly encourage others to become involved next year"

The ICT Youth Challenge, sponsored by HIE, Highland Council and BT, is now in its third year. Ali Murray, head of the ICT Youth Challenge programme consortium, said: "The standard of this year's entries emphasises the strategic importance of the Youth Challenge to the region's future. Congratulations to all who took part, they're all winners."

All teams can now apply for a grant from the Youth Challenge Fund to develop their ideas. As part of the Youth Challenge alumni they will also continue to receive support from the business experts as well as from previous winners - one of last year's teams has already successfully set up in business.