By Lucy Ashton
Scottish Charity, TechFest, is calling on West Dunbartonshirepupils to submit their ideas for improving their local high street through a nationwide school’s competition.
TechFest promotes STEM to school pupils throughout Scotland. The TechFest Blueprint Challenge is back this year to support all S3-S6 pupils as they play their role in saving the country’s high streets.
The competition, aligned with the CREST Awards and grounded in STEM, asks students to come up with realistic ideas for regenerating failing high streets. Secondary school students have a registration deadline of September 11.
TechFest is also calling on First Minister Humza Yousaf to support its vision of transforming high streets throughout Scotland before it is too late, and they die completely.
Sarah Chew, Managing Director of TechFest, said: “Scotland’s high streets are dying, and regenerating them is a huge challenge. Young people and their fresh perspectives deserve to be heard by decision-makers and they might just have the answers and ideas that will help transform high streets throughout the country.”
Scottish Charity, TechFest, is urging West Dunbartonshire secondary school students to submit their best ideas for transforming their local high street.
Following a successful pilot year which brought a range of creative designs by students across Scotland, TechFest is once again challenging secondary school students across the country to redesign their high streets as part of TechFest’s Blueprint Challenge: A Future High Street.
TechFest’s Blueprint Challenge is a collaboration with Bluewater, a specialist private equity firm focused on global energy. The initiative has been developed through Bluewater’s charitable division to inspire children to think about future energy and how this can be integral to a better environment and social agendas.
However, this year as pupils return to school, the charity has written to the First Minister urging him to help raise awareness and drive positive engagement with Local Authority planners throughout the country to support the regeneration of Scottish high streets and give young people a seat at the decision-making table.
Bringing life back to the high street has been a hugely challenging task for local authorities and TechFest’s Blueprint Challenge has been designed to champion ideas that can help regenerate towns and cities throughout the country.
TechFest is urging teachers and education staff across West Dunbartonshire to register their teams via the TechFest website.
The competition is open to all S3-S6 students who want to share their ideas on how to create a high street that allows society to thrive while celebrating the natural world at the same time.
Pupils are asked to take into consideration ‘’modern problems’’ surrounding architecture, economic stability, power generation and consumption, and how they can bring energy, technology and nature together to create a high street that meets Net Zero targets and encourages nature and community to grow. The goal is a modern and progressive high street that is not simply about retail.
Sarah Chew, said: “In the past decade there have been continued discussions, debates and reports on how to transform our high streets and make them fit for the future but despite various thought-provoking think tanks and reports, sadly we have seen little to no action.
“The Scottish high street is in crisis, and we need urgent action to save them, that is why the TechFest Blueprint Challenge is a huge opportunity to champion the youth voice and help transform how we use our high streets.
“Young people have a different perspective, and we see them delivering innovative ideas that are creative, thoughtful, full of insight and often surprising.
All teachers and education staff are welcome to sign up and attend an upcoming online information session. The session is set to take place on August 30th, between 4.15 – 4.45 pm to help teachers learn further about the benefits to school and student of the competition.
“For the school pupils taking part in is not only a way to make your voice heard, but also gives you valuable and lifelong career skills.”
Sarah added: “We need the First Minister’s help to place the transformation of our high streets at the forefront of the national and local agenda.
“Young people deserve to be heard and we need the First Minister to bring our high streets further up the agenda and help us develop more positive and meaningful engagement with local authorities across Scotland.”
Schools have until September 11th to register a team ahead of the project launch on September 12th.
Teams will work together to create a project summary by the end of November, followed by a presentation day in December, where they will display their projects to a panel of experts, with a further opportunity to display their work as part of TechFest’s Science Festival in May 2024.
The competition is curriculum-aligned, and students and teachers will receive comprehensive support materials, including a series of online webinars with industry professionals and an opportunity for students to showcase their skills to the local community.
“Scotland has a strong heritage for innovation and shaping the modern world,” Sarah Chew added.
“The TechFest Blueprint challenge offers a huge opportunity to develop progressive and ground-breaking ideas that can be held up as best-practice throughout the world, whilst engaging with young people in a fun, meaningful and impactful way.”