AYRSHIRE girls are battling it out with rivals from across Scotland in a contest to prove they can be the next stars of the investment industry.

Students from Dalmellington’s Doon Academy, Cumnock’s Robert Burns Academy and St Joseph’s Academy in Kilmarnock, plus pupils from Wellington School, are among teams from 48 schools taking part in the Growing Future Assets competition, designed to nurture a generation of female investment experts.

The contest, which aims to introduce senior girls to the world of investment and its range of careers, sees the teenagers vying to spot the next big investment opportunity.

Financial educators Future Asset are challenging a total of 320 girls, divided into teams of 13-18-year-olds to research, analyse and pitch a company they think will be a great long-term investment.

Now in its third year, the competition features a senior contest for years S5 and S6 and a junior challenge for S3 and S4. The teams of three to six girls will present their case in a research report and three-minute elevator pitch by November 30. The top teams will then deliver an extended pitch to judges at the final in March 2022.

At stake is: £1000 for the winning senior school and £200-worth of vouchers of the students’ choice for each team member; £800 for the best junior school and £150-worth of vouchers each. Senior and junior runners-up receive £500 and £100 of vouchers and £400 and £75 of vouchers, respectively.

Helen Bradley, Future Asset programme manager, said: “We are overwhelmed by the enthusiasm shown by the schools, the teachers and all the investment experts who have come forward to mentor the teams.

“We weren’t sure what the response would be from schools then at the beginning of September, when the competition launched, we just watched in amazement at the huge influx of registrations.We put out a call for additional mentors and that was answered enthusiastically by experts already in the industry.

“We’re also hugely impressed by the commitment shown by teachers who have really responded to this extra-curricular opportunity for their students – especially when they have already faced such a difficult period and increase in their own workload over the last 18 months.”

Ashley-Jane Kyle, CFA, Investment Analyst at Walter Scott & Partners Limited and Investment Mentor for the competition said: “Not only have I thoroughly enjoyed being an Investment Mentor as part of the competition, but I have also been so impressed with the students’ enthusiasm and effort put in to their investment reports and pitches.

"I think this is a great way to break the barrier that often puts girls off from considering investment management as a career as it allows them to experience in quite a real way what it’s like to research and invest in businesses. It also gives them an opportunity to develop valuable skills which they will be able to use throughout their careers.”