Back to school with big ideas

Posted on 6 Mar 2015 by The Manufacturer

The successful scheme to inspire children to think about engineering and sustainability is launched in West Midlands with industry backers.

Manufacturers including Bramme, repair and overhaul products and services provider, and Buck & Hickman, toolmakers, maintenance and health & safety products provider, are supporting local schools in the West Midlands by linking up to back an education scheme, which hopes to inspire the engineers of the future.

Solutions for the Planet is a business, education and community engagement programme themed towards sustainability, energy and engineering. Balfour Beatty, Brammer, Buck & Hickman and Lafarge Tarmac are supporting the project as it aims to inspire young people, aged between 11 and 14, to be the scientists, engineers and responsible citizens of the future.

The programme sees mentors from across the four businesses selected to work on an array of projects in six schools throughout the West Midlands; North East Wolverhampton Academy, Heath Park College and Colton Hills Community School in Wolverhampton, Lyndon School in Solihull, and Ninestiles School and Hodge Hill College in Birmingham.

The programme has been running since 2008 in 68 schools in Yorkshire and the North East, engaging over 12,000 young people and 40 business partners.

Mentors are helping the schoolchildren with their ‘big ideas’ tackling issues such as sustainability and work alongside them to develop simple, effective and economical solutions to positively impact society, the economy and environment. Four Big Ideas days have been held already, with more planned for January. Brammer and Buck & Hickman have also hosted a successful Mentor Training Day at Brammer’s Centre of Excellence in Wolverhampton.

Solutions for the Planet Buck & Hickman standLast year’s winners earned a visit to the Palace of Westminster to receive trophies and certificates from the Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP.

Dave Whittingham, head of HR at Brammer and Buck & Hickman, said: “Solutions for the Planet is becoming a highly successful way of promoting innovation and smart thinking from school children. We are proud to be a partner in the programme and to show our support for the development of young people’s skills and learning.”

Once the project has completed its first phase in July 2015, the programme will be increased to 10 schools in the West Midlands, allowing more opportunities for Balfour Beatty, Brammer, Buck & Hickman and Lafarge Tarmac to support the development of young people in the future.