51 pupils from the Glasgow region put their sustainability skills to the test at Drumchapel High School as they took part in a pioneering programme aimed at developing the employability skills of the future.

The eight teams from High School of Glasgow, Hillhead High School, Drumchapel High School, Turnbull High, Lenzie Academy and our very own Renfrew High took part in the Powering Futures Schools Challenge presentations, where they were tasked with finding innovative sustainable solutions to five real-world challenges facing businesses today.

The challenge-setters were Scottish Water, EV charging experts Urban Fox, BritishGas, Newsquest and The Scottish Government, with the challenge topics spanning reducing water consumption, netzero targets for sports clubs and schools, improving transport connectivity and creating trusted media on climate change.

The pupils were tasked with researching the challenges and collaborating to come up with creative solutions. Drawing on guidance from industry mentors, they presented their creative solutions to a panel of expert judges from Smarter Grid Solutions, Entrepreneurs, Net-Zero experts from The University of Glasgow, Transport Scotland and Consultants at a showcase event held at Drumchapel High School – earning a SCQF Level 6 qualification at the end of the process.

A second cohort of pupils from the Glasgow region will take part in a final on 19th March at King’s Park Secondary School.

Powering Futures was set up in 2020 to empower the young and future workforce with the skills, knowledge and abilities to help the transition to net zero.

The SCQF level 6 accredited Powering Futures Schools Challenge has seen 643 pupils from 43 schools across Scotland participate in 2023-2024 – with Powering Futures aiming to engage a million young people in the programme by 2030.

Natalie Don, MSP for Renfrewshire North and West, said: “It’s great to see pupils at Renfrew High getting involved with the Powering Futures Challenge, helping them to develop enhanced skills and abilities by taking on real world sustainability challenges, collaborating on a solution, and presenting it to a live panel of industry judges.

“It is also encouraging that the pupils will gain a SCQF Level 6 qualification upon completion of the course.

“With climate change being one of the biggest challenges we are facing as a society, this crucial knowledge of green skills, resource-efficiency, and sustainability will benefit the pupils hugely in their future careers.”

Jennifer Tempany, Co-Founder of Powering Futures, said: “We were delighted to have 13 teams from the Glasgow region take part in the Challenge Programme, and a special thank you to Drumchapel High School for hosting us on Friday. We are always blown away by the innovation and creativity shown by pupils as they tackle some relevant challenges set by industry.

“By empowering young people through our pioneering Powering Futures Challenge Programme, we can help them develop the critical skills that employers are looking for in their future workforce as well as establishing those essential links between the businesses of today and the workers of tomorrow who will power Scotland’s net-zero future.”

By Ricky Kelly

Main writer for Renfrewshire News

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