Tarmac has been celebrating the completion of the Solutions for the Planet Big Ideas programme 2019 with pupils from schools across the country.
The award-winning social enterprise encourages young people to consider science and technical careers and engage with sustainability issues, and has been supported throughout the programme by its national partner Tarmac along with IGEM, SGN, Brammer Buck & Hickman, Mears Group and SUEZ.
At the National Final held at the Palace of Westminster, teams from schools across the UK presented their ideas to an audience of local MPs, business mentors, teachers and their peers.
The winning team from Mayfield School in Portsmouth, impressed the judging panel with their innovative idea for a bus powered by a combination of renewable energy sources. Runners up from Arden Academy in Solihull designed a waterproof product to use in the bathroom to save water and the third place team from Hall Cross Academy, Doncaster, presented a kit of bee-friendly essentials to help transform local environments.
As a national partner of the scheme, Tarmac employees have delivered more than 1,500 hours of mentoring to participating 11-14 year olds across the country, highlighting the importance of sustainability and raising awareness of career opportunities within the construction sector.
Dr Martyn Kenny, sustainability director at Tarmac and member of the judging panel, said: “We’re really proud supporters of the Big Ideas programme which is a fantastic initiative helping to tackle real-world sustainability issues while benefiting both students and mentors.
“It’s great to see the programme shining a spotlight on the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) skills in future success and the creativity and enthusiasm from everyone involved has been incredible. We’d like to congratulate the winners and finalists on their achievements, as well as thank all of the thousands of students who took part.”
Each of the final twelve teams that progressed to the finals through regional rounds has spent the past year developing a creative Big Idea to address a specific environmental, social or economic sustainability problem. These included finding ways to capture carbon dioxide, tackling plastic waste and raising awareness of textile waste and supporting upcycling of old clothes.
Jen Baughan, CEO, Solutions for the Planet, said: “The Big Ideas programme has given over 3900 young people opportunities to imagine and innovate entrepreneurial solutions to challenging sustainability issues with the help of their business mentors. In doing so, they explore STEM subjects with independent learning and their own creative and critical thinking too.
“The confidence that the young people have developed and their belief and passion in their ideas is inspirational, and it’s largely down to their dedication and commitment, and that of their teachers and business mentors from Tarmac, and our other partner organisations. The students demonstrated outstanding entrepreneurship, teamwork and presentation skills that they will carry with them into their future careers.”
Tarmac has been supporting Solutions for the Planet for five years and in 2017 became the first national partner working with pupils in South East England, the West Midlands, Northern England and Scotland.
For more information about the Big Ideas programme, please visit www.solutionsfortheplanet.co.uk