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Abertillery Secondary students impress with their solution to reduce food waste

hree Year 10 learners from Abertillery Learning Community wowed the panel at the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Connecting STEM Teachers ‘Sustainable Futures’ Innovation Challenge with their app designed to help reduce global food waste.

They were so impressed that the students have been invited to attend Welsh Valleys Engineering Programme celebration event at the Royal Academy in London. Only 10 schools from across the UK have been invited.

The students entered the Sustainable Futures: Innovation Challenge competition run by the Royal Academy of Engineering, in which there were four categories they could choose from to solve a real-world problem. They chose to design an app which would help reduce global food waste. The idea was to create an app which would accurately measure how much of a certain meal you would need based on your personal measurements and daily activity which could communicate with restaurants to create an appropriate portion size of that meal.

The Welsh Valleys Engineering Project (WVEP) is an initiative developed jointly by the Panasonic Trust and the Royal Academy of Engineering to create centres of excellence in STEM teaching and improve learning opportunities in the South Wales valleys. The programme has received investment from the Welsh Government’s Tech Valleys Programme.

The students were successful in the first round of the competition in which they were invited to be interviewed about their ideas by engineers. They were then successful in going through to the next stage of the competition winning a trip to London, but unfortunately could not attend due to exams taking place. They will however be attending the WVEP end of year celebrations to showcase their work and some other activities the school has carried out as part of its STEM club.

Erin Macdonald, Teacher of Science at Abertillery Learning Community says:

“We are so proud of our learners here in Abertillery Learning Community for this huge achievement. The climate emergency is something we all need to mindful of and it will require some real innovative solutions to address the issues. It’s wonderful that our future generations have the opportunity to get involved with schemes like this and be able to work as a team to come up with some fantastic ideas to real world problems.”

Abertillery Learning Community are working closely with various STEM organisers both through Blaenau Gwent and with individual companies to allow learners to have greater access to opportunities and real-life experiences. Learners across Years 7-11 have been involved in different STEM activities such as aircraft design, engineering, and developing coded machines. There is also an after-school club for those learners that are wanting to explore STEM further.

The aim is to show learners how studying STEM subjects, that employers’ value, can lead to exciting highly paid STEM careers.  This is fundamental to the ambitions of the new Curriculum for Wales.