Project Barracuda – An ‘Off the Hook’ Success!

Alison had a thoroughly enjoyable time acting as a judge in the latest collaboration between the Home Economic department at Arbroath Academy and Dawnfresh Seafoods Ltd.  Once again, DYW were invited to take part as the S3 pupils pitched their new fish product to the panel.

5 weeks ago, S3 Home Economics pupils were given a project brief from Graeme O’Brien, Quality Manager at Dawnfresh, to design a new fish product targeting 30-65 years old consumers. Tying in with the current curriculum around product design and development; pupils had to work in small project teams to come up with an idea for a new product, do consumer research, create a unique selling point, decide on pricing, branding, the packaging and, most importantly make the dish.  The dish was then presented to a tasting panel to see if it was a hit or a miss.

This is the second year this project has run in the Home Economics department and as a result of the success of this and similar projects, Arbroath Academy is committed to integrating this approach as widely as possible within their curriculum.  As a school, they have received positive feedback on their approach from Education Scotland.

The approach is highly beneficial to the pupils as not only do they do something a bit different from the norm while meeting the course requirements but they also learn a host of various transferable skills that will help them far beyond school.

This was the first time many of the pupils had worked on a project-based task such as this. The focus was on team work and collaboration, with the end goal of delivering a finished product to a judging panel who acted as a supermarket looking to invest in the next exciting fish dish and they all did swimmingly well!


The judging panel heard from 9 groups in total from two classes and the standard was absolutely fantastic! The judges were blown away by how much hard work and effort the pupils had put in.

The groups took turns to present and answered questions from the judges around why they chose to develop the product the way they did and what successes and difficulties they encountered along the way. They were also asked questions on what skills they think they have developed from taking part in this project and one of the strongest themes to come out was the team working aspect.

Every group was excellent in their own way, and while there were some strong competitors one group stood out from the rest. The winning team was ‘Off The Hook’ with their fish ball product.  While there were a number of strong contenders, their presentation skills and packaging ideas where particularly impressive.

All teams received certificates and Dawnfresh medals for taking part, with the winning team receiving a Dawnfresh Trophy that was presented to the school.


Project Barracuda is a classic example of how businesses and education can work together to develop the young workforce.  When collaboration works well, businesses can have real input into a school’s curriculum to the benefit young people and the teachers through developing skills and raising industry awareness.

As a business, Dawnfresh Seafood Ltd were extremely impressed by the output and effort of the pupils and could clearly see how their intervention has made a huge difference to how the pupils now view their industry; their understanding of the processes involved in product design and development and the key employability skills that they have learned. The business is keen to replicate this project again next year with a new cohort of pupils and build on this success, which is great.

If you are an employer who would like to work with education in some way, or a teacher who would like to engage with industry to benefit your pupils, then please contact our DYW Dundee and Angus team who will be able to advise and guide you through the process.