The children of St Vincent’s Primary are appealing to businesses to step up and help fund a sustainability challenge that is building their green skills for the future. 

The class of 10 year-olds from Carnwadric in Glasgow is championing the Young Enterprise Scotland (YES) Circular Economy Challenge, a six week programme that sees the pupils design a ‘circular’ product or service, where nothing is wasted and everything has a value, in competition with other primaries across Scotland.  

However, if the CE Challenge is to remain free to schools, YES must secure another sponsor.  

The circular economy is all about making things last: through better design of products, reusing, repairing and remanufacturing products to keep them in use for as long as possible. Last year, St Vincent’s scooped the Commercial Award with its plans for Squishies For Life, cushions made from recycled textiles and surplus toy Squishies.  

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Their teacher, Sean McLennan said:  “This is a fascinating, and hugely important topic for our children. The pupils are so passionate about looking after their world and finding ways to make our way of life more sustainable. I’ve loved seeing the children practise all their skills for life and work – problem solving, resilience, teamwork, creativity and communicating effectively.” 

Scotland’s leading enterprise learning charity, Young Enterprise Scotland launches the Circular Economy Challenge for 2020/21 on 7 September, the official UN International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies. Supporting the launch, which takes the form of a virtual showcase of previous CE challenge winners, and alongside the pupils of St Vincent’s, includes Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Pawprint, Ellen Macarthur Foundation and Zero Waste Scotland. 

Geoff Leask, CEO of Young Enterprise Scotland, said: “The CE Challenge is designed to introduce the children to the benefits and principles of the circular economy through case studies and interaction with business ambassadors. It develops their enterprising skills in a real-life context, giving them an introduction to and understanding of the worlds of business, design and technology. It is a jewel in our crown of enterprise programmes and opens up the world of learning by doing for all children in an education system where we know that there is no one size fits all. 

“We are ambitious and want to expand the programme into more schools, but every teacher and school needs support and we can only continue to do that free of charge if we can bring a like-minded business on board to help pay the costs. I really hope that the appeal that St Vincent’s has made today will encourage companies to get in touch.” 

Iain Gulland, Chief Executive of Zero Waste Scotland, which is supporting the launch, added:  “To achieve a truly circular economy for Scotland we need a workforce that has both the understanding and skills to help drive it forward. That’s why it’s so important that young people are learning about it and putting it into practice – they're Scotland’s next generation of innovators, and schemes like the Circular Economy Challenge play a key role in developing their talent.”