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Teens challenged to invent future energy solutions at IBM/Shell event

Fifty 11 to 14-year- old’s took part in a stimulating “Future of Energy” challenge on 15 November. It was run by IBM and Shell to get them thinking about the role technology can play to create clean and efficient energy solutions. The students then pitched their ideas to a Dragon’s Den-style panel.

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As part of the day, the students also gained a perspective on ‘a day in the life’ of a Shell and IBM apprentice. They heard from both companies about new energies, the importance of STEM skills in addressing the energy challenge, and the technology-led innovations that will be developed to meet that challenge.

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“The ‘Future of Energy’ challenge is a great initiative to collaborate with like-minded companies on. It is delivered as part of our commitment to support STEM education” says Craig Walker, VP and CIO for Downstream, and one of the Dragon Judges. The creativity of the bright ideas pitched by the students and their enthusiasm and team work was inspirational. The teams generated really thought-provoking concepts for developing cleaner and more efficient energy solutions.”

Another Dragon Judge was Dr Ros Rivaz from Your Life. Ros was participating as part of an ‘Inspiration’ week to get more students to consider STEM careers. Ros comments: “Events like ‘The Future of Energy’ can really help make the connection for teenagers with how STEM Study can change the world. I was so impressed with the energy, enthusiasm and innovation demonstrated by the groups in attendance today. Your Life is dedicated to increasing the numbers of students studying Maths and Physics A Level, with a grounding in these subjects being at the heart of solutions that can solve all the world’s problems, including the challenge of feeding and providing energy for an ever expanding population.”

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Mark Wakefield, Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs Manager for IBM in the UK added: “Businesses are working together with schools in the community to inspire the next generation. We are changing the perception that these subjects are only for the ‘clever’ kids. They are for all and with more apprenticeship schemes available for school leavers as well as the traditional graduate programmes, there really are great opportunities for students in the UK to pursue STEM based careers and make a real difference to our future.”