“Really in life, it’s a short life, you don’t have long to live, you’ve just got to get on with things, make the most of opportunities, be the best you can be and leave your mark on this world”
Big Ideas Finalist 2016
Motivating young people to learn about science, technology, engineering, maths and sustainability
Solutions for the Planet motivates young people to learn about science, technology, engineering, maths and sustainability issues supported by companies that are leading in these fields internationally.
Entrepreneurship, teamwork, business planning and presentation skills are central to our programmes. Developing sustained partnerships with major employers in the local community has also been a valuable part of the programme for all the schools involved so far.
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“Our students have learnt the importance of responsibility, ownership of their own work, taking opportunities that take them beyond the curriculum, teamwork and enterprise.
They have developed STEM knowledge, business/entrepreneurship knowledge and confidence in presenting and talking to others.”
Teacher, Heath Park School
The Big Ideas programme and Competition
Our flagship initiative, the Big Ideas programme, promotes STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) and enterprise learning with a focus on sustainability. Launching with Big Ideas Days in schools, groups of students explore sustainability issues and identify problems that they want to solve. They then work in groups to devise solutions.
The groups of students, aged 11-14, are mentored by staff from business partners who help them design their solutions and enter their ideas into our Big Ideas Competition. Following scrutiny by an expert panel the Competition ends with area winners presenting at the National Finals at the Palace of Westminster. This event is hosted by a cross-party group of MPs.
“The S4TP team empowers young people and women like us and encourages us to really think big.”
“S4TP has encouraged me to go in to the STEM fields.”
Students from the Vitaliite team, Quwaat Ul Islam Girls’ School
Since 2013, the award winning Big Ideas programme has involved over 20,000 young people from more than 50 schools, with 300+ business mentors providing over 5,000 hours of their time to support the young people in developing their confidence, ideas, skills and knowledge around STEM, sustainability and entrepreneurship.
Awards and Recognition:
“Solutions for the Planet is a great programme to inspire and develop students into independent confident individuals. It has made me more aware of the issues surrounding our planet and how amazing our students are!”
Teacher, Alderbrook School
We exist to tackle social problems
We are a social enterprise. We exist to tackle social problems – to improve communities, our relationship with the environment and young people’s life chances. We provide valuable services in the open market, and reinvest our profits back into the business to benefit more young people and local communities. When we profit, society profits.
Vision, History and Values
Our vision is for a generation of young people ready and able to respond to 21st century sustainability challenges.
We want to create a world where sustainable practices are commonplace; every young person is equipped with enterprise skills that benefit people and planet; and social creativity, innovation and diversity is built into every business and workplace.
Solutions for the Planet used to be the flagship programme of Partners in Innovation, based in Bradford, Yorkshire. In 2013 a new Board of Directors took over the company and rebranded Partners in Innovation as Solutions for the Planet Ltd with a social enterprise model.
The core programme has been delivered since 2008 in 68 schools in Yorkshire and the North East, engaging over 12,000 young people. In 2012-13, we scaled back delivery due to funding, and relaunched, working with 6 schools in Yorkshire and the North East. This scale-back in Yorkshire came hand-in-hand with welcoming Jen Baughan and Kathryn Luckock to our Board of Directors, both of whom had ambitious plans to expand the geographical reach and impact of the core programme.
Plans to scale up our services nationally were welcomed by our business partners, who have both national and international footprints themselves. In 2014 Solutions for the Planet co-launched a regional programme in the West Midlands with partners Balfour Beatty, Brammer, Buck & Hickman and Tarmac. This was swiftly joined, in September 2015, by the inaugural year of Solutions for the Planet South East co-launched with partners SGN and Tarmac. In September 2017 Big Ideas programmes in Scotland and the South Coast were added to the portfolio of programmes.
Since the programme re-launch in 2013, The Big Ideas programme has worked with over 20,000 young people across the country generating fantastic Big Ideas to solve big sustainability challenges, building partnerships between business mentors and young people and developing employability and life skills along the way.
Solutions for the Planet’s values inform how we approach our work and how we interact with everyone we work with.
- Responsibility and Sustainability – living without harming others, achieving financial sustainability and considering how we manage resources, working towards zero impact.
- Transparency and Integrity
- Creativity and Innovation – a drive to challenge the status quo and give everyone the freedom to be creative and innovative, thereby allowing brave, different and imaginative ways of doing things to flourish.
- Partnership and Collaboration – we can all remember a time when we’ve had to ask for help, given help or received it from others. Such moments show why healthy partnership and collaboration are so important: we have to work together.