Human Swan lands guest speaker role at Fuel Change showcase

Australian biologist, conservationist, UN Ambassador and adventurer Sacha Dench – nicknamed The Human Swan – is set to swoop in as guest speaker at Fuel Change Challenge National Showcase event during Scottish Apprenticeship Week (1-5 March).

The free online event on the evening of Wednesday 3 March will reveal how Scotland’s Modern Apprentices could transform industry with low carbon solutions to help towards the country’s net-zero target.

Click here to register for the virtual event.

At the showcase they will unveil the low carbon concepts that have been 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.

Sacha Dench  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. Master of ceremonies for the evening will be BBC presenter Amy Irons. But the real stars of the event will be the Apprentices.

Sacha, said: “I can’t wait to be a part of the Fuel Change National Showcase and to see the exciting low carbon ideas that the Modern Apprentices have come up with, to help transform their respective industries. Supporting young people in their efforts to beat climate change is something we should all be encouraging, and I am honoured to be involved in some way in help to promote ingenuity that could honestly have a great affect in Scotland, the UK, in Europe and across the globe.

“It is the responsibility of everyone to try to make a difference in the efforts to address climate change and I am sure these enthusiastic and creative apprentices will help to inspire even more innovation among their peers as the Fuel Change programme continues to roll out over the years to come. I know that finding out more about their efforts has given me, as a conservationist and UN Ambassador, even more hope that efforts to raise awareness of climate change are not going unheeded and indeed your professionals are acting to make a difference.”

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.

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.