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Wales’ young inventors shine at 23rd annual awards ceremony

Credit: Simon Ridgway

Wales’ most promising young inventors have received accolades for their innovative ideas at the 23rd annual Innovation Awards, hosted by WJEC.

Held in the heart of Cardiff Bay on December 14th at The Senedd, the ceremony celebrated the achievements of budding inventors.

In collaboration with the Welsh Government, the Innovation Awards aim to inspire creativity among young minds in Wales, urging them to rethink conventional designs of everyday products and services. After a triumphant return in 2022 following a two-year hiatus, the 23rd edition showcased a wealth of inventive ideas from talented young minds.

The event also served as a fitting tribute to the legacy of Welsh inventors, acknowledging their contributions, including the creation of pioneering inventions such as the modern microphone, X-ray, and radar technology.

Jasmin Jones, Denbigh High School, Wireless Toothbrush Charger. Credit: Simon Ridgway

Jasmin Jones, a student from Denbigh High School, emerged as the AS Level Winner and Overall Winner for her innovative design of a wireless toothbrush charger. The judges commended Jasmine for the high-quality design and attention to the critical user needs and wants.

Jasmin said: “I am so thrilled to have won – I really didn’t expect it! There are so many amazing projects here today and it’s been so great to have the opportunity to look around at all of them. I would like to thank Mr Jones my Design and Technology teacher, and Mr Williams my head teacher. I am so grateful for their support and guidance; it really wouldn’t have been possible without them. We have such a great Design and Technology department in our school, that have supported my ideas and allowed me to do the best that I possibly can.”

Other winners include Alys Jones from Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Bro Edern in Cardiff, in the GCSE category for her design titled ‘Flight DVT reduction device’ a practical solution to the challenges of exercising during long flights, and Sion O’Keeffe from Ysgol Bro Pedr in Lampeter, winner of the A Level category, for ‘FretLuminate’, a fully functional project designed to teach people how to play the guitar.

Ian Morgan, WJEC Chief Executive, said: “The Innovations Awards is an event that I look forward to every year. The ceremony highlights the importance of recognising young talent in Wales and acknowledging the level of commitment and hard work that goes into these products.

“Once again, we have been blown away by the standard of our award entries, presenting our judges with some tough decisions, and I would like to extend a huge congratulations to all our entrants, no matter the result.

“I want to express our gratitude to all those who have supported and nurtured the next generation through their ongoing support. We deeply understand the importance of teachers, guardians, and family members who remain present every step of the way, supporting young learner’s creative quests. And, of course, we extend our appreciation to the Welsh Government. Without their constant support, this event could not take place.”

Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething said: “As set out in our innovation strategy, Wales Innovates, we believe fostering a culture of innovation is vital. It helps ensure young people have a springboard into high quality, skilled apprenticeships and careers – so I’m delighted we continue to partner with the WJEC to deliver the Wales Innovation Awards.

“This event is a wonderful opportunity to open young people’s eyes to the relevance of design and technology and allow them to be recognised for their technological innovations. A big congratulations to everybody who made it to the finals!”

In a nod to previous success, several promising inventors from last year’s Innovation Awards inventions have earned the honour of having their patent applications allowed by the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) and are awaiting official patent.

Ewan Brough from Brynteg Comprehensive School in Bridgend has been working with trademark and patent attorneys Abel + Imray to patent his integrated kitchen knife block, along with Ellie Penaluna from Ysgol Gyfun Rhydywaun in Rhondda Cynon Taf, who is awaiting patent for her food cutting guard.

In response to their success, Dr Peri Jones, European Patent Attorney, Abel + Imray said: “It has been a pleasure working with Ellie and Ewan, to educate them about patents and the value of Intellectual Property. It is inspiring to see the innovation that comes from the GCSE and A-level projects every year, and we are looking forward to supporting the WJEC and WJEC Innovation Awards for many years to come.”