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  • Fuel Change

    Posted by Karen Primrose on 23/08/2022 at 1:08 pm

    Fuel Change

    One of our academics Bob Tooze is involved in the following social enterprise project which is all about developing young people and also getting different perspectives on sustainability and clean growth. Anyone can join and set an industry challenge and businesses/council’s with apprentices can put teams forward.

    Fuel Change (https://fuelchange.co.uk/) is a social enterprise based in Falkirk with a simple but bold ambition, a carbon neutral future designed by the next generation. To achieve this Fuel Change aim to engage and empower 16-24 year olds by putting them through a structured 16 week programme to design solutions to challenges set by Industry.

    The original focus was the apprentice workforce, which are often overlooked as a source of innovation and new ideas. Whilst this focus on apprentices is still very much the case the scope has broadened to involve Secondary schools and also Graduate apprentices already part of the workforce.

    The Challenges set by organisations are deliberately broad in scope on topics including sustainable manufacturing, plastic pollution, fast fashion, embedding circular economy thinking in the motor trade, vertical farming, carbon capture and use. The outcomes of these challenges are often surprising and always inspiring.

    The 16 week programme involves some structured learning on both “soft” and more technical skills such as team working and dynamics, “ideation”, root cause analysis and problem solving as well an introduction to the circular economy and the 3 pillars of sustainability. The participants are then encouraged to use these skills to develop and refine their response to the original challenge. The Challenge culminates in them presenting their proposals to a panel. Teams typically have 4-8 members, usually from the same organisation, but not necessarily so.

    Beyond the end of the formal challenge Fuel Change continues to develop ways of progressing selected proposals, helping the teams and employers plot a forward path. A number of projects originating in the Challenge process are being pursued by employers. Some employers have for example chosen to use challenge participants to help deliver corporate sustainability plans.

    Currently there is no formal qualification at the end of the process for apprentice participants. In the Schools programme work is underway with SQA to get this recognised. That said the benefits are as follows

    i) For participants, they develop their skills and get the chance to consider critical environmental issues outside their normal job remit. In many cases this has also acted to raise their profile within their companies.

    ii) For employers, the more developed and environmentally aware workforce after the Challenge process has been cited as a clear benefit. Other benefits include better identification of talent amongst this pool of employees and also using participation as a recruitment tool.

    iii) For Challenge setters they often get a different perspective on their issue.

    Possible mechanisms for interacting with Fuel Change

    1. Set a challenge. This can be broad or focussed at a
      specific issue. Fuel Change will work with Challenge setters to help craft
      the final challenge wording to encourage teams to select it.
    2. Submit teams to work on Challenges. This could be the
      Challenge set by the University or one set by others.
    3. Provide mentors that will help Teams develop their
      response to the Challenges (Ian Hill has done this on a previous
      occasion).
    4. Provide Judges to participate in the final part of the
      process.
    5. Fuel
      Change are also in the process of developing regional challenges, where
      like-minded companies in a given region come together to set challenges,
      with a view to developing local networks.
    Karen Primrose replied 1 year, 3 months ago 1 Member · 0 Replies
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