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Tarmac volunteers go virtual to deliver on commitment to local schools

Volunteers at Tarmac have showcased their commitment to helping young people to tackle the planet’s biggest issues by providing virtual mentoring to teams of school pupils as part of a nationwide competition. 

The Solutions for the Planet Big Ideas Competition sees volunteers from local businesses partner with school pupils across the country to generate ideas which improve society, economy and the environment. 

Following school closures in response to the Covid-19 crisisa new online platform was launched on the Solutions for the Planet website, giving pupils and mentors the means to collaborate and continue working together virtually. 

Prior to the virtual mentoring, volunteers had been attending schools to help develop solutions created by pupils, aged 11 – 14, during their Big Ideas Days. 

Dr Martyn Kenny, Sustainability director at Tarmac, said: We’re proud supporters of the Big Ideas programme, which gives pupils the space to think creatively about current world challengesand discover more about future opportunities in STEM-based (science, technology, engineering and maths) careers.  

Working virtually is something many people have adapted to in the last few months. It's fantastic that the team at Solutions for the Planet have been able to relocate the programme to a virtual setting so that both students and mentors can continue their enjoyment of the competition. 

Stephanie Upton-Roddy, sustainability graduate at Tarmac and a volunteer mentor, said: It’s great to see students continuing to build and develop their ideas with their mentors. I’m really pleased to be able to provide support to my group and see that other volunteers are also able to keep up the opportunity to use their experience to help develop some amazing ideas.” 

Jen Baughan, CEO of Solutions for the Planet, added: “The dedication Tarmac has shown in supporting the students develop their Big Ideas has been extraordinary. Nationally, over 350 individual pieces of work have been submitted into the Virtual Big Ideas Competition by pupils and their mentors. Without the commitment from businesses like Tarmac the Virtual Big Ideas programme would not have been possible.” 

Tarmac has been supporting Solutions for the Planet for over six years and in 2017 became the first national partner working with pupils in South East England, the West Midlands, Northern England and Scotland. 

As a national partner of the scheme, its employees have delivered more than 4286 hours of mentoring throughout the country, highlighting the importance of sustainability and raising awareness of career opportunities within the construction sector. 

For more information about the Big Ideas programme, please visit 

Tarmac volunteers go virtual to deliver on commitment to local schools
Image Credit: Tarmac mentors with Solutions for the Planet organisers

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