West Midlands Regional Final 2018 – #1 !

West Midlands Regional Final #1 : 15th May 2018

We hold two regional finals in the West Midlands, and the first of these took place at Aston University on Tuesday May 15th.

It started with a great welcome talk from Joanne Burrows, Aston University Student Recruitment and Outreach Officer, in which she really engaged both the young people and adults in the room, especially with her example of one of the pieces of research that the university had been involved in – the proving of the ‘5-second rule’, much to everyone’s delight!

We had 10 fantastic teams from 5 schools – Alderbrook School, Arden Academy, John Henry Newman Catholic College, CTC Kingshurst Academy, and The Arthur Terry School – and on our judging panel we had Jen Baughan (CEO) and Karina Grucka (Business Intern) from S4TP; Andy Swain (Senior Manager-Sustainability) from our business partner Tarmac; Sharon Ritchie-Simmons (Service Proposition Manager) from our business partner Brammer Buck & Hickman; and guest judge Shariat Rokneddin, Director of Social Values Plus.

The team that came in third place was Turbo Turbine, from Alderbrook school.  This team wanted to tackle the problem of CO2 pollution from factories, and were inspired by experiments done in their science class at school to focus on how to capture the gas from the chimney.  Their idea was to separate the gas and use it to generate energy using a turbine, and sell the carbonic acid off to fizzy drinks companies.


In second place was Green Hive Trust, from Arden Academy.  They wanted people to encourage bees to their gardens using their creation of a clear box containing the flowers that bees like.  They had brought a super prototype, and had even already found a sponsor to support them and supply their team shirts!

And the judges awarded first place to PPU (Pollen Protection Unit), from CTC Kingshurst Academy, who will be going to London to the national final!  Our second entry focusing on bees, looking at it from the perspective of how to continue to pollinate if bee populations continue to decline, the judges were impressed with the thought they had put into their drone design.  They were also impressed with the passion which they had for the issues that both bees and farmers face, even more impressive for two young people from a city environment.


The judges and teachers all commented on the very high level of entries this year – all the presentations were superb, and I am glad I wasn’t on the judging panel!  I am incredibly proud of all my West Midlands teams, knowing first-hand how hard they have worked since the start of the programme, but watching them all stand in front of an audience of their peers and judges, I was so impressed at how well every one of them presented, and there’s no way I could have chosen a winner!

Every team will receive detailed feedback, and the schools are encouraged to hold a ‘debrief’ session to enable the teams to go through it, with the hope that they can use it to continue with their ideas.  It is so important to us here at Solutions for the Planet, that the young people we work with realise just how much potential they have, and that every one of them can and should continue working on their ideas regardless of the competition results.  We hope to hear of some real success stories in the future, and look forward to seeing PPU present at the Palace of Westminster!

Written by: Sarah Milburn, S4TP Programme Coordinator, West Midlands

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solutions for the Planet Ltd.