National Showcase for ‘Fuel Change Challenge’

Published:  19 February, 2021

The Fuel Change Challenge National Showcase event will reveal how Scotland’s Modern Apprentices could transform industry with low carbon solutions to help towards a net-zero target.

The online event will take place on the evening of Wednesday 3 March - during Scottish Apprenticeship Week (1-5 March) - and will unveil the low carbon concepts that will be adopted by employers from a long list of 20 teams, who made it through to the final Sprint 3 stage of the challenge from an original entry field of 38 teams.

Keynote speaker on the night will be Sacha Dench – an Australian biologist, conservationist, UN Ambassador and adventurer who has embraced her ‘Human Swan‘ nickname, after she followed a black swan on a paraglider across 11 countries and 7,000km on a migration survey – and MC for the evening will be BBC presenter Amy Irons. But the real stars of the event will be the Apprentices.

Established to provide a unique platform for our next generation to create a low carbon future, Fuel Change - who are funded by Skills Development Scotland and the Scottish Funding Council - hope to attract a large online audience for the showcase.

They are sure everyone from school children to graduates, from employees to employers, from entrepreneurs to political decision makers and from campaigners to those gearing up to attend the extremely important COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow later this year, will be excited to witness the high standard of low carbon solutions that the next generation of professionals are creating to help save the planet.

The 20 original ideas – all showcased on the night – will be presenting their concepts to a panel of industry experts, having earlier received guidance and support from individually allocated industry mentors as they looked to develop their good ideas into great ones. These mentors have volunteered from wider industry attracted by the diverse array of challenges and solutions delivered so far, by this next generation of problem solvers.

Viktoryia Parkhamovich, an MA with General Electric Caledonian, Prestwick (GE Caledonian), said: “This challenge has allowed my dreams and imagination to come into reality!”

David Reid, programme director at Fuel Change, said: “Fuel Change has proven that it’s time for my generation to embrace the energy and inventiveness of the next generation in tacking climate change. This platform will lead to jobs and skills for the future, created by those who deliver them.”

Karen Watt, chief executive of the Scottish Funding Council, said: “I’m delighted that we have been able to joint-fund the Fuel Change programme along with our partners Skills Development Scotland. This is an imaginative and well-designed initiative that meets an important national objective for climate change. The National Showcase will be an amazing event and the culmination of a lot of hard work from the apprentices and their mentors.”

Skills Development Scotland Sector manager for energy, Robert Orr said: “The Fuel Change Challenge is demonstrating the talent and skills of the nation’s apprentices and the value they bring to a workplace. Apprenticeships enable individuals to develop practical skills for the job but also skills that will enable them to adapt throughout their career such as problem solving, communication and team working.

“The Challenge is also giving participants a platform to make a difference in their work and contribute to important environmental and societal issues.”

Launched on Monday 7 September, the Fuel Change Programme initially encouraged Modern Apprentices (MAs) to tackle real carbon challenges set by a range of industry partners from the private sector through a series of three Sprint Stages. And then in October, Foundation Apprentices (FAs) were also invited to join them on the project.

Originally, around 230 MAs in 38 teams began the search for their ideal solutions and this has now been whittled down to 140 MAs in 20 teams who were given the green light to use their creativity and ingenuity to help tackle climate change.

The Fuel Change Programme has proved to be so successful that organisers are already being approached by new teams of MAs and FAs and their employers – from all industries across Scotland, not just construction and engineering - to register their interest for this year’s challenge. Register your interest at

The main aim of the project is to hit the target of a low carbon Scotland and create real, practical solutions which can not only be implemented by the partner companies, but potentially be implemented across the world and make a real difference to climate change. Another aim of the project now includes the subsequent identification of new skills and jobs for the future, which will be needed as a result of the new initiatives that are implemented by industry.

Five major companies initially supported the initiative including: Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL), BAM Nuttall, Scottish Power Energy Networks, National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS), and Spirit Aerosystems and all have submitted challenges to work on.

Challenges are focused around barriers to a low carbon economy or opportunities to create a product or service, which could develop a low carbon market offering.

Click here to register for the virtual event.

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