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Prime time African reality TV show offers chance to study in Aberdeen


Twelve young people from Ghana are currently competing in an Apprentice-style business challenge business challenge watched by millions of viewers to win the opportunity to study in Scotland. Now in its fourth series, The Challenge has become a TV ratings winner and sees thousands of people apply to win the opportunity of a lifetime. 

The ChallengeOrganised by the British Council, ‘The Challenge’ sees graduates put through their paces by completing weekly business tasks and trials to win first prize of an all expenses scholarship, and second prize of a partial scholarship, to study for a postgraduate degree at Robert Gordon University (RGU) in Aberdeen.

Each week, a contestant is evicted by a panel of judges and the public vote before a live final broadcast from the Ghanaian capital, Accra. During the final, which will see an academic flown out from RGU’s Aberdeen Business School (ABS) to join the judging panel, the five finalists will be put through their paces in front of a studio audience of 750 and over 4.5 million viewers live at home.

This is the second year RGU has taken part and following the success of last year’s series, Ghanaian student applications have soared with the West African country - now one of the University’s biggest growth markets.

Hundreds of applicants visit the British Council in Ghana to apply for the show and are put through a rigorous selection process which includes an aptitude test, individual and group interviews to test their team work, creativity, intellect and presentation skills, before the final 12 are chosen.

During the show, the contestants battle it out for the top prize on seven key tasks including a sales and business task, charity task and a product pitch. The scholarship board conducts weekly interviews and assesses the tasks to decide who is hired and fired before a public vote.

After the success of his involvement as Chairman of the Board in Season 3’s final, Andrew Martin, Director of the Scottish Centre of Tourism at ABS, will return to Ghana for the live final on 30 November.

Andrew comments:

“The Challenge is a huge TV event in Ghana which runs from the moment we step onto the red carpet at 5pm, to the winner being announced just before midnight! In style, it’s very much The Apprentice meets the X Factor – with my role being part Simon Cowell, part Lord Sugar!

“It’s very rewarding to be able to meet with the finalists and understand what the prize of a postgraduate education in Scotland means to these young businesspeople, in so many ways it’s worth much more than the monetary value alone.

“I’m extremely proud of what the University and our partners in Ghana are doing through The Challenge – we’re helping to change attitudes towards higher education and raise aspirations.”

Last year’s winner Naa Komey (24) from Accra is now studying for an MSc International Business at RGU’s Aberdeen Business School.

Naa adds:

“I watched the very first season of The Challenge on TV with my family and really wished I could take part. After I completed my undergraduate degree, I was finally persuaded by my brother to register for Season 3 – I was delighted when I was selected to the final twelve!

“The range of tasks on The Challenge provided a great way to show off my different skills to the judging panel. The debating task was very exciting and gave me the opportunity to lead my team and impress the judges with my knowledge on economics.”

Naa, who graduated from the University of Ghana in 2010 with a degree in Economics with French, worked in supply chain and business processes for a mining company before entering The Challenge.

She continues:

“Tasks involving how to manage a business and enterprise encouraged me to think seriously about the issues around building a business which I am still discussing in my studies.

“In the MSc course, I am being taught how to make effective professional decisions in relation to the global business environment by critically thinking and analysing the impact of those decisions.”

Sydney Hushie, Challenge Co-ordinator at the British Council in Ghana, said:

“The Challenge for us is an opportunity to expose young people to UK education and support them in building a career. The vision of the British Council is to create opportunities worldwide and the challenge helps us to do just that.
“Seeing the winners crowned over the last 3 seasons has been a thrill as we know we are directly changing the life of one individual to the benefit of the entire nation.”

The Challenge is broadcast on GHOne TV on Sundays 3:30pm and on Wednesdays at 7:30pm. It also airs on Ghana Television on Sundays at 9:30pm and on Wednesdays at 12:30pm, and is streamed live from the GTV website every week. The final is scheduled for Friday 14 December.

For more information including news and episodes, please visit www.thechallengeghana.com or www.facebook.com/BritishCouncilGhana.

Notes to Editors: 

  • Further photographs of Naa Komey and Andrew Martin are available on request from the Communications Office (details below).

Issued by:
Sarah Grieve
Communications Officer

Robert Gordon University
Schoolhill
Aberdeen
AB10 1FR
Tel: 01224 262206
Email: s.j.grieve@rgu.ac.uk.