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Wednesday 16 March 2016  

New Forest Academy team off to Brussels for European Grand Finale

An innovative team of students from New Forest Academy will be heading off to Brussels in May after winning a place in the Grand Finale of the 2016 European Sci-Tech challenge, held by ExxonMobil and Junior Achievement-Young Enterprise Europe.

The team of Caitlin Legg, Jessica Cavanagh, Polly Stephens, Isaac Dyer and Dylan Gillespie-Birch, were crowned UK Sci-Tech champions last month (February 24) when they saw off stiff competition from 100 other students. In the second stage of the contest (March 15), the fab five took part in an online challenge against teams from Belgium, France, Italy, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania and Russia.

Their task was to come up with ways in which to dramatically reduce Brussels’ traffic congestion in a fuel and cost-efficient way. Each team then had to present their ideas online to the other competitors and a judging panel made up of top level business executives, the Brussels Minister of Mobility and a representative from the European Commission.

The New Forest Academy students were chosen as one of the top three teams, along with Romania and Belgium. The judging panel said: “These three teams were chosen based on their outstanding innovative ideas, excellent presentation and team spirit.”

Richard Henderson, Chemicals Manager at ExxonMobil Fawley, was one of the judges in this year’s UK Sci-Tech Challenge. He said: “I am delighted that the New Forest Academy team has won a place in the European Grand Finale. It was evident from the first stage of the competition that the students had a great team spirit and the imagination to come up with some truly innovative ideas. All of us here at Fawley wish them the very best of luck in Brussels.”

Sharon Crowe, Head of Science at New Forest Academy, Holbury, said: “This is such a wonderful achievement and we are all so proud of the students. They worked incredibly hard in the online challenge and came up with some great ideas. They fully deserve to be going to Brussels.”

The European Grand Finale will take place on May 25 and will be hosted by MEP Adina-Iona Valean at the European Parliament. There, business representatives and policy-makers will reveal which of the three teams has been crowned the overall winner for 2016.

Notes for editors:

  • This year was the seventh edition of the European Sci-Tech challenge, which is jointly organised by ExxonMobil and JA Europe.
  • The aim is to encourage students between 15-18 to consider Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) oriented careers and skills.
  • ExxonMobil at Fawley is the collective name given to Esso Petroleum Company Limited and ExxonMobil Chemical Limited which are part of Exxon Mobil Corporation.
  • The Fawley refinery is the largest in the UK and one in six cars in the UK operates on fuel produced at Fawley.
  • Exxon Mobil Corporation is the world’s leading publicly-traded petroleum and natural gas company.
  • Approximately 75,000 employees work for ExxonMobil across six continents with more than 1,000 employees working at Fawley.
  • JA Europe is Europe’s largest provider of education programmes for entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy.
  • In 2015, JA Europe equipped 3.5million students in 39 countries with the knowledge, skills and attitude they require to start a business or get a job.