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Thursday 31 March 2016  

Students rise to Sci-Tech Challenge

Coming up with a strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from UK passenger cars by 40 per cent by 2040 is a challenge many experts would shy away from. However, that was the task given to 35 pupils from seven secondary schools as they did battle in the UK National Sci-Tech Challenge 2017. The youngsters, representing schools from the Waterside, Hamble and Leatherhead, gathered at the Novotel hotel in Southampton for the competition run by ExxonMobil and Junior Achievement-Young Enterprise Europe (JAYE).

The annual event is designed to promote the STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering and maths and is always keenly contested between schools based near to ExxonMobil sites. This year, 35 pupils in teams of five worked all morning to come up with solutions to the challenge.

The youngsters were helped by volunteers from ExxonMobil Fawley and Leatherhead who were on hand to give expert advice and support. Following a morning of research, the teams each developed a concept paper which formed part of the overall marking criteria.

They then stepped up on stage to present their ideas to a panel of ExxonMobil and JAYE judges, giving them an opportunity to gain more marks in the battle for top spot. Taking the overall title for 2017 was Hounsdown School, whose team impressed with a combination of ideas, including better education and the use of new environmentally-friendly technologies starting to emerge. Applemore College claimed second place, with St Andrew’s School, from Leatherhead, picking up the trophy for third.

Angharad Vaughan, Community Affairs Adviser at Fawley, organised the challenge on behalf of ExxonMobil. She said: “The event was really successful and once again showed how imaginative young people can be when they are given a challenge to solve. I would like to thank all our volunteers and judges who took part, their support really helped to make sure that the pupils had a fun and enjoyable day.”

Jon Collins, Young Enterprise Manager, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, said: “As the UK’s largest business and enterprise charity, Young Enterprise is delighted to continue building relationships with both large local employers like ExxonMobil and the excellent schools in our region. I am very proud of how the students performed at the national final in Southampton, and I look forward to creating even more of an impact on local students as the Sci-Tech Challenge continues to grow and evolve.”

The schools: Applemore College, Hythe; Hamble School, Hamble; Hounsdown School, Totton; New Forest Academy, Hardely; Noadswood School, Dibden Purlieu; Therfield School, Leatherhead; St Andrew’s School, Leatherhead.

  • Hounsdown School went on to represent the UK in the online European Sci-Tech Challenge, which saw them compete against teams from Romania, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Norway for a place in the Grand Final in Brussels in May. Despite making a spirited and polished presentation to the online judges, the team were unable to secure a top-three place. Teams from Italy, Belgium and France will now compete for the overall European Sci-Tech Challenge crown.

PhotoThe team from Hounsdown school, winners of the UK National Sci-Tech Challenge.

Notes for editors:

  • This year was the eighth edition of the European Sci-Tech challenge, which is jointly organised by Junior Achievement-Young Enterprise Europe and ExxonMobil. The UK challenge took place on 14/03/17 and the European online challenge on 21/03/17.
  • The aim is to encourage students between 15 and 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.
  • Approximately 75,000 employees work for ExxonMobil across six continents with more than 1,000 employees working at Fawley.
  • Junior Achievement-Young Enterprise Europe is Europe’s largest provider of education programmes for entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy.
  • Every year, it empowers 250,000 young people aged between four and 25 to develop some of the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in work and in life through a range of practical programmes in schools, colleges and universities. Young people do this under the guidance of a network of 5,000 volunteers from 3,500 companies.