Pioneering Programme Powers to Success

Posted by: Press Team on 11 March 2024 12:11

An innovative programme which challenged South Tyneside youngsters to use their imagination to find new ways of harnessing renewable energy has taken first place in the STEM Initiative category of a national awards scheme.

The South Tyneside and Beyond programme, which was delivered by Little Inventors on behalf of South Tyneside Council and Dogger Bank Wind Farm, was awarded the top spot at The Engineer magazine's Collaborate to Innovate Awards.

The Project team is pictured with Isaac Usher in the front who was shortlisted in the Young Innovator category
The Project team is pictured with Isaac Usher in the front who was shortlisted in the Young Innovator category

The programme saw over 3,000 children take part in an 'invention challenge', which encouraged the youngsters to expand their skills in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) by broadening their knowledge of renewable energy and how it can be used to bring about positive change for the planet.

Year 4 pupils came up with a wide range of creative ideas, including a 'turtle motorway, an 'auto shivering device' and 'wind mirrors' which use propellors on car wing mirrors to capture enough energy to power the radio and sat nav - a design that was shortlisted in the Young Innovator category.

To give credence to the creations, the best designs were transformed into prototypes by industry partners and put on display at The Word in South Shields.

Cllr Jane Carter, Lead Member for Education and Skills, said: "South Tyneside has a burgeoning 'green' sector but it is vital that our young people know about the skills that will be needed in the future to secure these high-quality jobs.

"This project has demonstrated the tangible value that collaboration between education and industry can bring for all concerned. It has shown how creativity and imagination can be used to solve real-world problems, while also raising the aspirations, knowledge and confidence of our young people."

The second year of the project is now underway with a programme of school-based workshops where young people can learn more STEM subjects, using Dogger Bank - currently the world's largest offshore wind farm being built off the North East coastline - as inspiration.

Craig Bright from Little Inventors  said: "We take young people's ideas from all around the world seriously, and to have the opportunity to make a difference to the wonderful little inventors in South Tyneside in collaboration with South Tyneside Council and Dogger Bank Wind Farm was such a fantastic experience. We're absolutely thrilled that the efforts of everybody involved have been recognised with this award."

Kay Doragh, Community Investment Manager at Equinor - one of the industry partners in the project - added: "The Powering the Future programme really benefits from the trust it puts in young people to have amazing and innovative ideas, as seen in the brilliant Wind Mirrors invention by nine-year old Isaac from Cleadon. It's this creative drive that we hope will inspire young people to embrace STEM in education and as a future career, especially in renewable energy."


Last modified: 11 March 2024 12:18