JA Europe and Arconic Foundation partner to host sustainability competition for students

Brussels, 04 June 2020

Students from France, Germany, Hungary and UK pitched their innovative solutions to reduce waste and the depletion of natural resources in an online competition organised by JA Europe and Arconic Foundation.

The judging criteria included problem solving and innovation in the area of recycling and reusing of materials, defining the type and size of the intended market and a high-quality prototype of the recycled or reused final product.

The winning team from Lessing-Gymnasium Karlsruhe, Germany, developed products such as lamps from scrap materials of local factories. Their innovative idea was chosen as the winner by an international jury of experts, as part of the two-year “Inventing the Future” programme focusing on entrepreneurship and STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). The winning team will be able to select a digital/technological prize to support the development of their business.

The student company’s slogan is “waste isn’t waste until we waste it” and they aim to show through their business that old or broken does not mean garbage.

“Today more than ever, it is critical to encourage the young generations to find innovative solutions to the major societal and environmental challenges, such as recycling and reuse of materials” commented Jasper van Zon, Senior Director, Communications Europe and Asia at Arconic. “Arconic Foundation is committed to further strengthening the STEM skills of young Europeans and continuing our partnership with JA Europe to encourage youth to engage in the future of manufacturing.”

Over the last three years, Arconic Foundation and Junior Achievement have partnered on the “Inventing the Future” program, which has involved more than 1,400 young people from over 60 schools. The students have been supported by more than 155 Arconic volunteers across Europe.

The project featured classroom visits from Arconic volunteers giving students insights to the full spectrum of STEM careers available to them, as well as an innovation camp to collaborate on different STEM-related challenges and develop their innovation skills. The activities under this initiative have a special focus on the next generation of materials and how innovation will influence the manufacturing industry and societal challenges in the areas of recycling and reuse of materials. 

Considering the impact of automation and digitalization on manufacturing globally, as well as the persisting skills shortage in the sector, Arconic, Arconic Foundation and JA Europe strive to encourage more young people to pursue STEM careers or start businesses in these fields, recognizing that manufacturing competitiveness and the future of opportunities lie at the crossroads between STEM skills, innovation and new businesses.

"JA Europe is grateful to Arconic Foundation for supporting the future generations’ STEM and entrepreneurial skills through this Award. Together we have a measurable impact encouraging more young Europeans to tackle the critical challenges of our times and we believe “Inventing the Future” is an important initiative highlighting the importance of STEM education. Congratulations to WUDZ for showing the potential of the young generations", says Salvatore Nigro, CEO of JA Europe.

About JA Europe

JA Europe is the largest non-profit in Europe dedicated to preparing young people for employment and entrepreneurship. JA Europe is a member of JA Worldwide, which for 100 years has delivered hands on, experiential learning in entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy. JA creates pathways for employability, job creation and financial success.

Last school year, the JA network in Europe reached more than 4 million young people across 40 countries with the support of 140,000 business volunteers and 130,000 teachers/educators. 

About Arconic Foundation

Arconic Foundation supports programs that prepare the advanced manufacturing workforce through education and skill-building. Arconic Foundation is independently endowed with assets of approximately $150 million and invests in the communities of Arconic Corporation – a leading provider of aluminum products that advance the ground transportation, aerospace, industrial, packaging and building and construction markets.

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