Cumbria’s talented teenagers will enter the Dragons' Den on Thursday to compete for the career opportunity of a lifetime.

Almost 100 youngsters will take part in the Dream Placement selection day, and be challenged to persuade top employers why they should be given a chance to spend a week at the county’s most forward-looking companies and organisations.

Organised by the Centre for Leadership Performance, in Cockermouth, Dream Placement offers 16 to 18-year-olds the chance to learn about leadership and career opportunities. 

The selection event, at Energus, Lillyhall, will put the youngsters through their paces, with exercises designed to give them a taste of challenges in the workplace and a series of Dragons' Den-style interviews by the firms involved. 

Around 200 teenagers applied for almost 50 placements.

More than 1,000 students have taken part since Dream Placement's launch in 2014. 

Placements on offer over next February half-term includes, for the first time, the office of Copeland MP Trudy Harrison who will be inviting two candidates to Westminster.

Companies taking part include Newsquest Cumbria, Balfour Beatty, GlaxoSmithKline, Sellafield Ltd, Story Contracting, the NDA and heath trusts. 

Sarah Glass, of the Centre for Leadership Performance, said: "Companies taking part benefit from getting to know the young people during the carefully managed selection process and the placement week, with many of those relationships continuing afterwards as placements are recruited or move on to university or training."