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Programmes and impacts

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All of our programmes are in line with delivering on our vision of a generation of young people ready and able to respond to 21st century sustainability challenges.

Currently, we run three programmes:

  • Big Ideas programme and competition;
  • Work experience
  • DIFR programme in partnership with UnLtd.

We are always looking for opportunities to expand the scope of our existing and future programmes.

Big ideas

Portsmouth Regional Final 2018!

Portsmouth Regional Final: 24th May 2018 On Thursday 24th May, our last regional final of the year took place at the University of Portsmouth on the 24th May.   We had 10 amazing teams from 3 schools – Cams Hill School, King Richard School and Park Community School. On our judging panel we had Dr. Jess […]

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Scottish Regional Final 2018!

Scottish Regional Final: 22nd May 2018 Our month of regional finals is almost at an end!  This week our penultimate event was held at the University of Glasgow and saw our teams from Biggar High School, Grangemouth High School and Shawlands Academy bring their fantastic ideas to our first ever Scottish Regional Final! Solutions for […]

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South East Regional Final 2018!

South East Regional Final: 21st May 2018 The South East Regional Final took place at the Museum of London on the 21st of May. We had 10 amazing teams from 5 schools –  Greenacre Academy, Longfield Academy, Plashet School, Quwwat-ul-Islam Girls’ School and Stratford School Academy. On our judging panel we had Sarah Milburn (West Midlands Programme […]

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West Midlands Regional Final 2018 – #2 !

West Midlands Regional Final #2 : 16th May 2018 The second of the Solution for the Planet’s Big Ideas Competition 2018 West Midlands Regional Finals was on Wednesday 16th May at the University of Wolverhampton. Dr. Petula Nurse (the students were very amused when she pointed out that, yes, she really was called ‘Dr. Nurse’!), […]

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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 […]

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Work experience

Solutions for the Planet offers and creates work experience opportunities with our business partners as part of our commitment to prepare young people for the world of work, where they are able to respond to 21st century sustainability challenges.

Research shows that young people who have meaningful encounters (and work experience) with employers dramatically reduces their chances of becoming NEET (not in education, employment and training after 16 years of age) and increases salary on average by 18%.

We’re focussed on working with partners to provide more work experience opportunities with a focus on STEM, entrepreneurship and sustainable development in the regions we operate.


Profile 1: Marissa Chauhan, Year 10, Alderbrook School

After meeting at the World Skills Show at the NEC in Birmingham, Marissa spent three days with the S4TP team assisting with the shortlisting and feedback process for teams in half-term, April 2015.  Following this she was invited back as a member of the judging panel at the competition final in London.

“The biggest highlight for me was meeting and working with different people, allowing me to explore and think differently. Also, I have gained the experience to adapt to different environments, an office as compared to a classroom. S4TP challenged my skills and concentration as I performed longer hours, from nine til’ five, rather than a typical six and a half hour school day – so I was guaranteed a good night’s sleep!

“This has been an unforgettable work placement – starting at the Worlds Skills Show and concluding at Westminster Palace in London. What a journey – one that I’ve enjoyed and without doubt will shape my future career!”

Read more about Marissa’s Work Experience here [link to Marissa’s blog in News]


Profile 2: Izzy Schofield, Year 10,

Following Marissa’s success as a Judge at the Finals in 2015, we decided it would be great to have a young person on the judging panel at the finals every year. In 2016 we invited Izzy Schofield to join the panel, giving her an opportunity to interact with a wide variety of business men and women, learn about each of the finalist teams and their Big Ideas, as well as be a judge.

“I was absolutely delighted and honoured to be asked to be the student judge at the Solutions for the Planet final this year. I was amazed by the amount of hard work and dedication that went into creating these ideas and how detailed and complex the business plans were, particularly as these were from people of my age. I learnt that young people have a real passion and drive to create ideas to influence a better world. I felt privileged to play a part in that and I would very much recommend the Solutions for the Planet programme to anyone of my age.”


Profile 3: Callum Gladdish, Longfield Academy

Callum undertook various tasks during his week with SGN at their office in Orpington, allowing him to view and understand that it is not just a simple process of turning on a cooker or boiler.

This included time with the admin department inputting, updating training records and competencies of operatives; worked with the Network Maintenance process that manage equipment which regulates gas pressures across the network; worked with the West Kent Operations process, inputting work records, time sheets and understanding the day to day requirements to ensure that operatives are available to respond to a public reported escape over a twenty four hour period; and with the Replacement process in understanding the planning and day to day requirements when projects are undertaken to replace metallic gas mains and services.

After his week with SGN, Callum expressed an interest in the processes of designing gas networks and the requirements of training, in particular maintaining records and planning of courses.


Profile 4: Nusaybah, Year 10, Sarah Bonnell School

After the team that she was part of, Vitaliite, came first in the Solution for the Planet Big Ideas Competition in 2016 Nusaybah decided that she would like to find out more about SGN, the company one of her mentors Victoria Richardson-Burton worked for.  So, she applied for a five day work experience placement with them and these were her thoughts:

“S4TP is important because it ensures that young people have a voice to share their ideas and makes us think about real problems and how we can solve them through simple solutions, which are actually possible for young people to create. It makes us more aware of the problems surrounding us and the actual scale of them.

I think it’s important for companies to offer work placements so that we can actually get an insight into the work that people do. I had no idea what SGN did but this placement has made me understand how SGN, and similar companies work and the different jobs and departments that make up the company.

This experience has definitely made me more interested in this sort of work and has definitely enhanced my interest in the STEM sector.”

DIFR Awards

Solutions for the Planet are pleased to continue partnerindifr-main-logog with UnLtd’s Do It For Real Programme, to provide cash Awards and support to young entrepreneurs who want test out or set up their Big Idea. (Please note not all Big Ideas are eligible for this Award, see below).

Do It For Real is a national youth programme brought to you by Spirit of 2012, Comic Relief and Unltd to mobilise young social entrepreneurs through sharing knowledge, volunteering and enabling young people to start, grow and build sustainable social action projects.

For the latest Do It For Real news, please click here.

Do It For Real Awards are cash awards plus practical support to help you turn your ideas into a reality. Solutions for the Planet is a partner organisation of the Do It For Real programme and will provide advice, training and mentoring for Award winners, to give your venture the best chance of success.

Young people applying for awards through Solutions for the Planet can apply for a Try It Award (Up to £500) to help you research, plan and even run some events for your venture. Some young people may then after be eligible to apply for a Do It Award (up to £1,000), these are designed to help you turn your ideas into real ventures with more structure.

Reports and evaluations

We evaluate the impact of our programmes in order to measure the impacts of our programmes on young people, teachers, schools, business mentors, businesses and the wider society.  We also want to ensure we are accountable and continually improve the quality of our work. We are committed to demonstrating the impact of Solutions for the Planet on all participants involved, particularly young people.

Solutions for the Planet Impact Report 2016-17

Report Highlights

  • 3,436 students from 26 schools participated
  • 690 Big Ideas generated
  • 133 Big Ideas submitted to the competition involving 557 students
  • 227 students participated in one of 6 semi-final events (60 teams)
  • 63 business mentors supported the schools this year
  • 227 students achieved a Bronze CREST Award
  • 95% of teachers felt the Big Ideas Day was a success
  • 91% of mentors are keen to recommend the programme to colleagues
  • 74% of students said they were more interested in STEM subjects, as a result of attending a Big Ideas Day
  • 71% of students understand more about the job opportunities using STEM skills, as a result of attending a Big Ideas Day
How to set up a business 92%
Sustainability 85%
Engineering and technology 49%
Jobs using STEM 71%
Confidence and presentation 74%

Solutions for the Planet Impact Report 2015-16

Report Highlights

  • 3,210 students from 24 schools participated
  • 642 Big Ideas generated
  • 106 Big Ideas submitted to the competition involving 422 students
  • 243 students participated in one of 6 semi-final events (62 teams)
  • 74 additional business mentors and 5 student mentors were trained during the year
  • 19 teachers trained during the year
  • Mentors contributed over 1,100 hours to the programme
  • 240 students achieved a Bronze CREST Awards
  • 74% said they understand more about engineering, as a result of attending a Big Ideas Day
  • 68% wanted to find out more about jobs in STEM, as a result of attending a Big Ideas Day
How to set up a business 92%
Sustainability 72%
Engineering and technology 49%
Jobs using STEM 59%
Confidence and presentation 92%

Solutions for the Planet Impact Report 2014-15

Report Highlights

  • 2,400 students from 16 schools participated
  • 400 Big Ideas generated
  • 84 Big Ideas submitted to the competition involving 420 students
  • 185 students participated in one of four semi-finals (43 teams)
  • 80 mentors trained during the year
  • Mentors contributed over 1000 hours to the programme
  • 185 students achieved a Bronze CREST Awards
  • 60% said they understand more about engineering, as a result of attending a Big Ideas Day
  • 61% wanted to find out more about jobs in STEM, as a result of attending a Big Ideas Day
How to set up a business 90.91%
Sustainability 78.79%
Engineering and technology 72.73%
Jobs using STEM 84.85%
Confidence and presentation 90.91%

Solutions for the Planet Impact Report 2013-14

Report Highlights

  • 1,000 students from 8 schools participated
  • 150 Big Ideas generated
  • 39 Big Ideas submitted to the competition involving 420 students
  • 20 mentors trained during the year
  • Mentors contributed over 320 hours to the programme
  • 66% said they understand more about engineering, as a result of attending a Big Ideas Day
  • 57% wanted to find out more about jobs in STEM, as a result of attending a Big Ideas Day
How to set up a business 90.91%
Sustainability 78.79%
Engineering and technology 72.73%
Jobs using STEM 84.85%
Confidence and presentation 90.91%

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News and Big ideas

Big Ideas Competition 2018 Finalists!

We are pleased to announce the 2018 Solutions for the Planet Big Ideas Competition Finalists.  This year, the standard of entries to the competition has been very high, and the judges had a particularly difficult time deciding on the 12 finalists.  For 2018, we added three new areas (Portsmouth, the North East and Scotland), worked […]

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Portsmouth Regional Final 2018!

Portsmouth Regional Final: 24th May 2018 On Thursday 24th May, our last regional final of the year took place at the University of Portsmouth on the 24th May.   We had 10 amazing teams from 3 schools – Cams Hill School, King Richard School and Park Community School. On our judging panel we had Dr. Jess […]

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Scottish Regional Final 2018!

Scottish Regional Final: 22nd May 2018 Our month of regional finals is almost at an end!  This week our penultimate event was held at the University of Glasgow and saw our teams from Biggar High School, Grangemouth High School and Shawlands Academy bring their fantastic ideas to our first ever Scottish Regional Final! Solutions for […]

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