Tarmac has announced a seventh successive year partnering with Solutions for the Planet (S4TP) – a social enterprise working nationally to build partnerships between businesses and schools to promote sustainability, science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) careers as well as develop employability skills.
To coincide with British Science Week (5-14 March), Tarmac is once more supporting S4TP’s #BigIdeasProgramme, a STEM enhancement programme shining a spotlight on sustainability issues of today and the future, which is this time themed as ‘Innovating for the Future’, The scheme creates a platform for young people to make their voices heard in the wider community through linking together with schools, businesses, universities and other organisations.
Aimed at students aged 11 to 14 (Key Stage 3 in England; S1 to S3 in Scotland), the programme is delivered in collaboration with Tarmac and other national partners through employee volunteering.
Teams of students from schools across the country, including in London, Stirling, Birmingham, and Durham to name a few, will be mentored by a total of almost 30 Tarmac employees. The mentors will support the students in turning their big ideas into creative business plans and live projects, generating real solutions to sustainability issues.
The programme starts with a Big Ideas Day (held virtually this year), and the teams will submit their ideas to the Big Ideas competition at the start of May. Subject to national safety guidelines, the national final is planned to take place at the Palace of Westminster in London on 23 June 2021.
Martyn Kenny, sustainability director at Tarmac said: “We’re really proud to be continuing our partnership of the #BigIdeasProgramme for yet another year. We’re very supportive of the STEM agenda and with this week being British Science Week it was the perfect time to announce our continued work with S4TP.
“Our Tarmac mentors have volunteered many hours to support the #BigIdeasProgramme and each year tell us they feel a real sense of pride and satisfaction from taking part, gaining not only community engagement experience but making a real difference to young people’s lives. Their work helps to build confidence, teamwork, research, and problem-solving skills in students across the country. We are really looking forward to seeing which teams make the shortlist – good luck to all of the contestants.”
Jen Baughan, CEO of S4TP said: “Our #BigIdeasProgramme lets young people explore STEM subjects and sustainability through independent learning and their own creative thinking. The confidence they develop and the belief they have in their ideas is truly inspiring. It’s mainly down to their enthusiasm and commitment, plus the dedication and help from their teachers and mentors from our key business partners such as Tarmac.
“Outstanding entrepreneurship, teamwork, presentation skills, and a broader knowledge of how STEM skills can be applied are just a few of the things students develop through our #BigIdeasProgramme. They build knowledge and tools they’ll carry with them into their futures, both in and outside of work.”
Despite the challenges of 2020, through virtual mentoring Tarmac employees were able to contribute more than 25% of overall volunteering hours to the #BigIdeasProgramme. A total of 3,886 students from 31 different schools participated last year, with 98% of students reporting a serious interest in sustainability and environmental issues.
S4TP is supported throughout the programme by its national partners Tarmac and IGEM, as well as SGN, Mears Group and Northern Gas Networks.