Media Release: Pupils organise training events for Dragons’ Den firm

A COMPANY that helps to motivates people has set up the ultimate challenge for Scottish school pupils… run part of our business for us.

Dunfermline firm, Tree of Knowledge, regularly stages training events for people in business.

Now, in an initiative called TOK Apprentice, the firm is handing over responsibility for organising and promoting motivational training workshops to pupils at five schools, including one primary.

Says a spokesperson: “In a scheme devised to introduce young people to the world of business, the pupils are given eight weeks to organise a Tree of Knowledge training event for corporate clients, arrange a venue, advertise the session and, crucially, persuade business people to pay to attend it.

“The youngsters are looking to raise at least the sum their schools are spending on hiring Tree of Knowledge, and it will be up to the school to decide what to do with any profits they make.”

Said Alison Henderson, headteacher of the primary involved, Caskieberran, in Glenrothes: “It’s a fantastic scheme which will give the pupils incredibly useful experience.

“It will give them a real sense of responsibility and they will derive a tremendous amount of satisfaction in seeing it through. It also fits in very well with Curriculum for Excellence in that it will help develop their team-building skills and make links with the community.”

The spokesperson adds: “Pupils in each of the participating schools form teams, with each one given particular roles, such as finance, sales and marketing.

“The events they are organising will feature a motivational talk by a Tree of Knowledge trainer, and anything else the pupils can organise, such as entertainment or a sporting activity.”

Tree of Knowledge work in schools throughout the country, delivering motivational talks to pupils, staff and parents. The company is also increasingly active in the corporate sector, doing likewise for people who own or work for businesses.

The company holds regular Fun@Work days in the unlikely setting of Edinburgh Zoo, where guests are treated to laugh-a-minute presentations and take part in various fun activities which can involve skipping ropes, Polo mints and garden canes.

As with all their workshops, including the ones the school pupils are promoting, the zoo events sessions are designed to help people in business loosen up, feel good about themselves and empowered to regard every challenge as a not-to-be-missed opportunity.

Tree of Knowledge has developed two products to help people get motivated.

The Apodo, designed for use in secondary schools, is a curiously shaped, multi-coloured toolkit full of objects for use in a range of fun motivational activities. There’s an Apodo in every second school in Scotland, and there’s a similar product, the Peapodo, for use in primary schools.

The company recently launched a corporate Apodo, designed for use in the workplace.

It was partly to get help developing that product that the firm’s managing director, Gavin Oattes, and director, Alan Burton, recently appeared on the popular BBC 2 show, Dragons’ Den.

They had asked for an investment of £100,000 in return for a ten per cent stake of their business.

Although the firm didn’t clinch a deal, it did get a glowing endorsement from each of the Dragons, with entrepreneur Peter Jones describing the two directors as “the best he had ever seen”.

Also involved in the TOK Apprentice initiative are Inverness High School, Dumbarton Academy, Clydebank High School and St Ambrose High School in Coatbridge.

Notes to editors

Tree of Knowledge managing director, Gavin Oattes, is available for interview on matters relating to motivation, enterprise and education. He can be contacted on 01383 621648 or

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Contact: Tom Davison
Phone: 01383 820373