The Aluminium industry gathered in Birmingham to celebrate the creative talents of six young designers, winners in the first Alu D&T Challenge competition for 11 to 14 year olds.
The Alu D&T Challenge was developed by the Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro) and the Aluminium Federation (Alfed) and has been endorsed by the Design & Technology Association (DATA). It provides schools with resources to educate children at Key Stage Three about the importance of sustainable design, and the role aluminium can play in helping designers to shape a sustainable future.
Launched in September 2012 the Challenge provides lesson plans and supporting notes, and sets design challenges in four categories – transport, built environment, packaging and technology. During the autumn term designs could be entered into a national competition, with the winner in each category receiving a RapMan 3D printer kit for their school, plus a cash prize for the winning designer, or team of designers.
Seventy five schools from all corners of the UK took part, submitting a total of 670 entries; but with individuals and teams of up to four children working on designs the number of pupils involved in the Challenge was actually closer to 1000. This presented the judges with a tough challenge of their own, firstly reducing the 670 entries down to 10 finalists per category, and for the invited panel of experts the tough choice of choosing an overall winner in each.
Speaking at the Celebration event judge Prof. Michael Stacey of Nottingham University told the winners and an audience made up of parents, teachers, classmates and members of both sponsoring organisations: “The quality and sheer creativity involved in the entries was extremely impressive, with many of the pupils going to great lengths to prepare their designs. Key Stage 3 includes children who are in their first year at secondary school and those who are about to embark on their GCSE courses, so the range of ideas they put forward was fascinating, and extremely impressive.”
In addition to the four winners the judges chose to make two Highly Commended awards, both of whom received vouchers plus a £250 donation to the school’s D&T department.
Both Alfed and Alupro have been delighted with the response to the Alu D&T Challenge. Rick Hindley of Alupro said: “Our previous experience with schools has focused on the younger, primary school age group and has centred on recycling, so this was new territory for us. We had extensively researched the opportunities for linking aluminium with the secondary school curriculum and D&T seemed the perfect fit, and this was borne out by the enthusiastic response we had from teachers – and their pupils! It’s exciting to think that we have inspired so many young people to think about the importance of sustainable design, and the role aluminium can play in a sustainable future.“
Speaking on behalf of the Aluminium Federation Chief Executive Will Savage said: “This challenge has inspired many students to investigate the properties of aluminium and how it can be used to produce innovative and sustainable products. We are delighted with the level of participation and the quality of the projects. It is reassuring to know that there is plenty of talent and inventiveness amongst the next generation of UK engineers and designers.”
The winners were:
T for Two Transport Challenge: Henry Stheeman (14) Eton College
Highly Commended: Jordan Stanley (13) Perry Beeches The Academy, Birmingham
Inspired by Nature Built Environment Challenge: Oscar Leach (13) Sherborne Prep School
Highly Commended: Riccardo Nori, (11) St. Faith’s School, Cambridge
Portion Control Packaging Challenge: Hannah Walker (12), Grays Convent School, Essex
Tough Tech Technology Challenge: Katie Neales (13), Bromsgrove School, Worcestershire