Big Ideas Programme

Solutions for the Planet

The Big Ideas programme is a STEM and enterprise competition with a focus on sustainability and entrepreneurship. It is delivered in partnership with energy, utility and construction companies based locally, who provide business mentors to support teams of pupils (in KS3) to generate solutions, 'Big Ideas', to sustainability problems.


Big Ideas are generated on “Big Ideas Days” where Solutions for the Planet staff deliver a full-day of sustainability-focused challenges in school.  By the end of the day teams of young people will have each built a Big Idea to solve a sustainability problem of their choice.  Teams wishing to continue in the competition will then work with their teachers and business mentors in weekly development sessions organised by the school.  Here Big Ideas are turned business plans which are submitted to our competition before the Easter holidays.  Successful teams are invited to Semi-finals, held at a regional university, in May and finals at the Palace of Westminster in London (July). Students can also work towards achieving a Bronze CREST Award (accredited learning by the British Science Association).


The Big Ideas Programme generates motivation to learn about science, technology, engineering, Maths, and environmental issues supported by companies that are leading in these fields internationally.  We champion entrepreneurship and “softer skills” such as teamwork, business planning and presentation skills.  Developing sustained partnerships with major employers in the local community has proven to be a valuable part of the programme for all the schools involved so far.

Expected outcomes

The Big Ideas Programme and its mentoring interactions build career aspirations in 11-14 year old’s.  Outcomes include a wider appreciation and awareness of how STEM skills are used within the workplace, and a greater interest in these subjects at schools.

Participants develop their STEM and entrepreneurial skills but also softer skills including teamwork, communication, and confidence.  The programme instills a strong sense of social responsibility in our young people with 83% of last years' cohort saying they felt young people like themselves can make a difference on sustainability issues.  

Teachers benefit from the programme by gaining a greater understanding of how STEM skills are used in the workplace and how valuable these are to employers.  The Project-based-learning style gives teachers the change to engage with students in a more creative and flexible manner.  This in turn facilitates stronger relationships between students, teachers, and the school environment.

To book this activity, please contact:
Jessica Mitchell

9 St Lucia Close
BS7 0XS Bristol

The STEM Directory is provided as a service to support you in finding enrichment opportunities. The activities are offered by external providers and are not endorsed by STEM Learning. We are not responsible for their content or delivery.


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