Seventeen students from schools around the UK have been named as winners in the Alu D&T Challenge, a national competition for 11 to 14 year olds organised by the aluminium industry to inspire young designers to create sustainable products using aluminium.
Students and their teachers travelled to Birmingham to receive their prizes and meet the sponsors at a celebratory event at Thinktank Science Museum.
The national schools competition, linked to the Design and Technology curriculum, helps teach pupils about the material properties and sustainability potential of aluminium by challenging them to design a sustainable product for the future using aluminium. The design challenges are based on real-life briefs faced by designers, engineers and manufacturers in three categories – transport, building and packaging. They form part of a wider package of cross-curricular teaching resources which have been developed by the aluminium industry to support teachers of pupils aged 7 to 14.
Judging took place in two stages, reducing over 200 entries to a final shortlist of 30; with the final winners chosen by a panel made up of senior figures from the aluminium industry, and specialists in engineering and architecture.
The winning individual and team in each of the three design challenges won a 3D printer for their school, plus £100 in vouchers for the pupils. Prizes were also awarded to runners up and finalists in each category.
The panel of judges agreed the 2016/17 winners were:
Vehicle of the future category:
- Winner – individual: Alex Brown (Year 8) Oakham School, Leics.
- Winner – team: Urmston Grammar School
- Runner Up: Thomas Lemon, St. John’s School, Northwood.
Garden building for a creative homeworker category:
- Winner – individual: Amy Riddlesdell, Oakham School
- Winner –team: Urmston Grammar School
- Runner up: Tobias Raphael, Crosfields School
Innovative new packaging solution category:
- Winner – individual: Ethan Thorne, St. Ives School
- Winner – team: Ysgol Glan-y-Mor
- Runner up: Nick Wood, St Ives School
Speaking about the winning submissions at the prize-giving ceremony in Birmingham, Alu D&T Challenge judge and sponsor Andy Doran, of Novelis UK, said:
“Meeting the winners of the competition is one of the highlights of my year! The enthusiasm and talent these young people show for designing products that will benefit society and protect our environment is so uplifting. Between them the winners demonstrated some really progressive ideas about designing sustainable products using aluminium, and I hope we have inspired some future engineers, designers and materials scientists who will make a difference to industry in the future.”
Alupro’s Marketing & Communications Manager, Diana Caldwell, said:
“Since we launched the competition at the start of the academic year over 300 teachers have registered online and downloaded our resources for use with over 25,000 students. The competition gives us an insight into what pupils have learnt about aluminium and the contribution it can make to sustainable lifestyle, but knowing that this message is also reaching a much wider audience in schools across the country is invaluable for our industry.”
Commenting on the value of the competition and its impact on students, Mrs Vanessa McSween from St. John’s School in Northwood, said: “All of our students enjoyed taking part and it was wonderful to have a winner! I am delighted by the spotlight the aluminium industry shines on the subject of Design & Technology by making this link between school and industry. It highlights the importance of the subject with regard to futures in engineering as well as many other related fields. Being given this opportunity can be a definite ‘game changer’ in the future thinking of these pupils which is fantastic!”
Watch our film featuring the winners of the 2016 Alu D&T Challenge here