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Apprentice teams hold the key to start solving the Net Zero challenge

More than 150 young people and apprentices will today embark on a new national challenge to help businesses solve real-life carbon and climate change issues.

Teams of up to eight 16 to 24-year-olds from companies and organisations including ACS Clothing, Alexander Dennis Limited, AECOM, Arnold Clark, Booth Welsh, Collins Aerospace, DSM, GTG Training, IGS Limited, Jacobs, JFG, Lothian Buses, Scottish Water, Spirit AeroSystems and Transport Scotland, have signed up to take on the Big Tonnes Challenge, which will see them working with mentors over the next few months to come up with practical solutions and ideas.

The challenge is being set by Scottish social enterprise Fuel Change, alongside Arnold Clark, Intelligent Growth Solutions, CBI, Scottish Water, ArkDeFo, Jacobs, AECOM and Transport Scotland and aims to empower young people to create a carbon neutral future for themselves and future generations.

The not-for-profit organisation is fast gaining traction among government, industry and the education sector, with the ambition to eventually become a global platform that galvanises young people into taking meaningful action to address climate change, protecting the planet for their future and their children’s future.

Fuel Change has secured £500,000 in funding from the Scottish Government to allow it to reach many more young people as part of its mission to be active in ‘Every School, Every Workplace, Everywhere’.

The Big Tonnes Challenge is Fuel Change’s fifth national challenge and focuses on solutions for sectors that have a significant impact on CO2 emissions.

Set by key industry partners, the challenges will focus on: Economic Model; Consumer Behaviours; Agriculture; Water and Natural Environment; Circular Economy; and Transportation.

At least 19 teams will work together to develop their ideas, which will be presented early next year.

Fuel Change co-founder Jennifer Tempany said: “Given the success and impact of the previous challenge teams, we’re really looking forward to the start of our Big Tonnes Challenge today. We can’t wait to work with the teams and support them to create innovative solutions and help them to develop invaluable skills.

“It’s an exciting time for Scotland as we reflect on the outcomes of COP26 in Glasgow and what the legacy of the summit might look like. Climate change has never been higher on the global political agenda so there’s really no better time for our next generation to get involved and take climate action.”

The Fuel Change challenges were established to spark a means by which the Scottish economy can shift to Net Zero, and at the same time use the innovative ideas to create wider commercial, economic benefits.

It is an opportunity for apprentices to develop innovative, but practical, solutions to real low-carbon challenges and more than 500 young people have already taken part.

The challenge programme’s main aim is to help hit the target of a low-carbon Scotland by 2045 and create real solutions which can be implemented by the partner companies in Scotland and potentially across the world.

Fuel Change also recently launched a pilot programme with schools across Scotland, which is developing climate change material for use in every subject on the curriculum. It aims to roll this out to 10,000 schools over the coming years.