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details for our Northern Ireland student-challenge

Thinking about a career in marketing or journalism? Can you write a punchy news-story or podcast-script, or design an eye-catching advert or web page - to grab the attention of friends and fellow students?

Show how you'd promote the Financial Ombudsman Service - to raise awareness of the ombudsman with young people in Northern Ireland - and you could:

  • Win a £250 cash prize for yourself and a similar prize for your college - with £100 runner-up prizes on offer too.
  • See your own work being used as part of a real-life PR and marketing campaign.
  • Kick-start your career with valuable hands-on experience, to impress a prospective employer with your creativity and initiative.

tell me more ...

Twitter, podcasts, myspace, viral-marketing ... The world of media is changing fast and the communications challenge is on - to get the right message across using the right media. Accept the challenge and enter our competition - showing us how you'd promote the ombudsman, with maximum impact, by:

  • designing a web page (or social-networking page) or
  • producing the script for a podcast or online video or
  • writing an article or feature or
  • designing an advert or an advertising campaign.

We welcome entries from young people in full or part-time education in Northern Ireland - in either of two entry-categories (16 to 18 year olds and 19 to 21 year olds). Competition judges will come from the Northern Ireland Youth Forum, the Northern Ireland Consumer Council and BBC Radio Ulster.

Email your entry to us at or by post to Peter Bristow, Financial Ombudsman Service, 183 Marsh Wall, London E14 9SR. Don't forget to include:

  • your full name
  • date of birth
  • address and contact details and
  • where and what you're studying.

See below for the full competition rules - and get cracking, as entries must with us by 30 April 2009.

Ombudsman ... er, remind me?

The Financial Ombudsman Service has the legal power to investigate consumers' complaints against banks, insurance companies and finance firms - and get things put right. We're a free service for consumers.

Last year more than 15,000 people from Northern Ireland contacted the ombudsman service for help. In over 50% of the cases we took on, our involvement led to compensation for the consumer.

the competition rules

  1. Entry to the Northern Ireland student-challenge is subject to acceptance of the terms and conditions set out in the rules below.
  2. The competition is open to students in full or part-time education in Northern Ireland who meet the age requirements.
  3. Entrants must be aged between 16 and 21 years of age on or before 31 August 2009.
  4. Employees of the Financial Ombudsman Service and their close relatives are not able to enter.
  5. All entries must be received at the Financial Ombudsman Service's office before 5pm on 30 April 2009. You need to include your full name, address, date of birth - and where and what you're studying.
  6. Entries should be submitted by email to: or by post to: Peter Bristow, Financial Ombudsman Service, 183 Marsh Wall, London E14 9SR. Receipt of individual entries will not be acknowledged, nor can entries (and related material) be returned after the competition.
  7. When submitting entries:
    - designs for a web page (or social networking page) should be submitted as hardcopy print-out or in a pdf-format as a visual mock-up
    - scripts for a podcast or video must be no longer than 1,000 words
    - adverts should be A4 size (210 m 297mm) and submitted in hardcopy or pdf format
    - articles or features must be no longer than 750 words.
  8. Following short-listing, entries will be judged by a panel of judges, including a representative from the Financial Ombudsman Service, the Northern Ireland Consumer Council and the Northern Ireland Youth Forum.
  9. There will be two separate categories. One category will be for students aged from 16 to 18 years of age on or before 31 August 2009, and the second category will be for students aged from 19 to 21 years of age on or before 31 August 2009.
  10. For each of the two categories (listed at paragraph 9) there will be one first-prize winner and two runner-ups (six prize-winners in total):
    - First prize will be £250 cash each for the two winners and £250 for each winner's school, college or university.
    - Runner-up prizes will be £100 for each of the four runners-up and £100 for each runner-up's school, college or university.
  11. Winners will be notified by 31 May 2009 and details published on the ombudsman's website.
  12. In submitting an entry to the competition, entrants retain their copyright (and any other rights they may have) in relation to the material they have created; and they give the Financial Ombudsman Service permission to reproduce that material (in full or in part) as part of the ombudsman's awareness-raising and marketing work during the 2009/10 financial year. Other than prize money awarded, no further payments will be made.
  13. The judges' decisions are final and neither they nor the Financial Ombudsman Service can enter into discussion about decisions made.