Scottish elementary school students are finding business sponsors for their green initiative.


The Educational Future

Children at St Vincent’s Primary School are appealing to corporations to help finance a challenge to sustainability that will improve their potential green skills.

The 10-year-old class from Carnwadric in Glasgow is championing the Circular Economy Challenge of Young Business Scotland (YES), a six-week initiative in which students compete with other elementary schools across Scotland to design a “circular” product or service where nothing is lost and everything has meaning.

However, YES needs to find another sponsor in order for the CE Challenge to stay free for schools.

By better designing goods, reusing, restoring and remanufacturing products to keep them in operation as long as possible, the circular economy is about making things last. With their plans for Squishies For Life, pillows made of recycled textiles and surplus toy squishies, St Vincent’s won the Commercial Award last year.

“This is a fascinating and hugely important subject for our children. The students are so passionate about caring for their world and finding ways to make our way of life more sustainable. I’ve loved seeing the children practising all their skills for life and work – problem solving, resilience, teamwork, creativity and effective communication.”

On September 7, the UN’s official international day for clean air and blue skies, Scotland’s leading entrepreneurial learning charity, Young Business Scotland, is launching the Circular Economy Challenge for 2020/21. St. Vincent’s students, Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Pawprint, Ellen Macarthur Foundation and Zero Waste Scotland, among others, are supporting the launch, which takes the form of a virtual showcase of previous CE Challenge winners.

“The CE Challenge is intended to teach children about the advantages and principles of the circular economy through case studies and interaction with company ambassadors,” said Geoff Leask, CEO of Young Enterprise Scotland. It improves their entrepreneurial skills in a real-world sense and provides them with an introduction to and understanding of the world of industry, design and technology.

We are optimistic to extend the programme to more students, but every teacher and school needs funding, and if we can get a like-minded organisation on board to help underwrite the costs, we can only continue to provide this for free. I really hope the call made today by St. Vincent’s would inspire companies to come forward.

In order to achieve a true circular economy for Scotland, we need a workforce with both understanding and expertise to move it forward,” added Iain Gulland, chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland, which is supporting the launch.” This is why it is so important for young people to learn about it and put it into practise – they are the next generation of innovators in Scotland, and projects such as the Circular Economy Challenge play a key role in cultivating their talent.


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