News item

Young Consumers of the Year competition could help students to gain new qualification

During National Consumer Week (17- 21 November) the Trading Standards Institute (TSI) urged schools to enter a national competition to show how savvy their pupils are about their rights and responsibilities.

And the Young Consumers of the Year competition could help youngsters preparing to take a new Citizenship GCSE to add to their qualifications.

The theme for National Consumer Week 2008 is 'Be a savvy shopper this Christmas', aimed at helping people to be aware of how to buy wisely and safely.

Ron Gainsford, chief executive of TSI, said: 'Many of the issues we are raising during National Consumer Week - including the risks of dangerous and counterfeit products and the sale of age-restricted goods on the internet - particularly affect young people.

'Entering the Young Consumers of the Year competition helps to arm them with the knowledge they need to go out into the ever-growing and more complex commercial world as confident consumers - or, in later life, as businesspeople themselves.

'We urge schools in England, Scotland and Wales to consider whether they may enter teams of their pupils in our competition, which provides a great deal of fun, entertainment and prestige, as well as having its serious messages.'

Thousands of clued-up youngsters took part in the hotly-contested 2008 competition, which saw a team from Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys, in Kent, beat off hundreds of other schools to be crowned national champions at TSI's annual conference held in Bournemouth in June.

Winners and finalists from the competition even took part in a quiz against teams of MPs and other politicians at the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat conferences later in the year.

The competition features teams of four pupils, plus a reserve, aged 14 to 18 competing in a knockout consumer quiz.

The contest aims to raise awareness among young people of their rights as consumers, as well as testing their knowledge of consumer legislation and rules.

It features questions on consumer rights and responsibilities, money and finance, food and health, safety and the environment and Europe.

The national finals for the 2009 competition will be held in June at the TSI conference in Brighton.

The new OCR GCSE in Citizenship also encourages the concept of active citizenship, helping students to understand and make sense of legal, political, economic and social aspects of their lives.

It helps them to develop the skills and confidence to deal with a variety of situations they may encounter.

Stuart Lunn, qualifications and group manager at OCR said: 'Whatever age you are, it is key to being a well-informed consumer that you know your rights and what you can do to protect yourself from being ripped off or exploited.

'OCR's new Citizenship GCSE provides what, for many pupils, might be their first opportunity to get to grips with the legal rights and responsibilities involved when items are bought and sold.

'Like our new qualification, the Young Consumers of the Year competition brings issues such as the Sale of Goods Act into the classroom, which is an important step in making pupils aware of their rights.

'Entering the competition will help pupils hone their knowledge for the Citizenship GCSE.'

Schools who want to take part in the Young Consumers of the Year 2009 competition can find information here.

The overall winners will receive a £1,000 cheque for their school along with a multi media package to the value of £1,000, and the coveted Young Consumers of the Year trophy.

Notes to editors

Trading Standards Institute

The Trading Standards Institute has represented the interests of Trading Standards professionals for 120 years. We have a long and proud history of ensuring that the views of our members are well represented at the highest level of government, both nationally and internationally.

Our aim is to promote excellence and enhance the professionalism of our members in support of empowering and informing consumers, encouraging and working with honest businesses, targeting rogue traders and rogue trading practices and contributing to the health, welfare and wellbeing of citizens and communities.

TSI members are engaged in delivering frontline trading standards services in local authorities in response to 2 million consumer and business complaints and enquiries each year. They also support the delivery of new initiatives such as Consumer Direct, providing first point of contact practical consumer advice.

They also work in the business, consumer and central government sectors in promoting and influencing the safety, prosperity and enhancement of individuals and markets with a dependency on effective and professional trading standards contributions and interventions.