Ten students from schools around the UK have been named as winners in the Alu D&T Challenge, a national competition for 11 to 14 year olds, funded by the aluminium industry to inspire young designers to create sustainable products using aluminium.

Students and teachers travelled to Birmingham (7th March) to receive their prizes and meet the sponsors1 at a celebratory event at Thinktank Science Museum.

The national schools’ competition, linked to the Design and Technology curriculum, helps engage pupils with the material properties and sustainability potential of aluminium by challenging them to design a sustainable product for the future using aluminium. The design challenges are based on real-life briefs faced by designers, engineers and manufacturers in three categories – transport, building and packaging.  They form part of a wider package of cross-curricular teaching resources which have been developed by the aluminium industry to support teachers of pupils aged 7 to 14.

Judging took place in two stages, reducing over 100 entries to a final shortlist of 18; the final winners were selected by a panel made up of senior figures from the aluminium industry, and specialists in engineering and architecture. 

The winning entry in each of the three design challenges received a Magnetic MODI robotics kit and a Mini Mambo Drone for their school alongside £100 worth of vouchers for the pupils. Prizes were also awarded those who were shortlisted.

The grand prize of an educational visit to Milan, sponsored by Novelis, was awarded to the entry deemed to be the most outstanding design across the three categories. The two-day trip for the students and their D&T teacher will include the chance to visit two Novelis manufacturing plants on the outskirts of Milan, and an opportunity to explore this fast-paced metropolis

The panel of judges agreed the 2017/18 winners were:

Vehicle of the future category:
  • Winner: Toby Davies & Archie McTeare, St Ives School.
  • Runner Up: Alicia McCarthy, Watford Grammar School for Girls.
Garden building for a creative homeworker category:
  • Winner: Finley Hawkins, St. Benedict’s Catholic High School.
  • Runner up: Chloe James & Georgia Benjamin, Pipers Corner School.
Innovative new packaging solution category:
  • Winner: Sanjita Akter, Emma Baldwin Quirk, Libby Evans, Weatherhead High School.
  • Runner up: From Portsmouth High School.
Overall grand prize winners:
  • Sanjita Akter, Emma Baldwin Quirk, Libby Evans, Weatherhead High School.

Speaking about the winning submissions at the prize-giving ceremony in Birmingham, Alu D&T Challenge judge and sponsor Andy Doran of Novelis said: “Meeting the winners of the competition has been a fantastic experience. The enthusiasm and talent these young people show for designing products that will benefit society and protect our environment is so uplifting. Between them, the winners demonstrated some really progressive ideas about designing sustainable products using aluminium, and I hope we have inspired some future engineers, designers and materials scientists who will make a difference to industry in the future.”

Alupro’s executive director, Rick Hindley, said: “Since we launched the Alu D&T Challenge back in 2012, we have held four national competitions and have received over 1600 competition entries from nearly 200 schools. The entries into the 2017/18 competition are some of the highest standard we have seen so far and it has been a pleasure to meet some of these talented young designers today at our celebration event. I would like to thank the Alu D&T Challenge sponsors and partners, who provide funding and commit their time and expertise to making the Challenge a success.’