“The process was really insightful into the way a water company works and how the business operates in general. It was great to meet such senior people and was very well organised and welcoming.”
Young Innovators' Panel
As part of our commitment to engage with young people and future customers, we launched our Young Innovators' Panel.
Now in its third year, the Young Innovators' Panel gives students the opportunity to put their ideas forward towards a business challenge.
Young Innovators’ Panel 2023
Last year we welcomed 25 students from sixth forms across our South Staffs region onto our Young Innovators Panel from a group of almost 70 who applied.
Representatives from Blue Marble Research (one of our research partners) worked with us to design two days of insight and activity, set across June and July, to offer young people an insight and a voice into the world of water and an opportunity to feedback on our future business plans for 2025 onwards.
In our first session in June the Young Innovators were taken through how our company operates and were involved in group discussions with subject experts from the business on specific issues around water efficiency, water pollution, water and climate change and global water security.
They were then organised into four teams and briefed to create an engaging educational resource which could be incorporated into a classroom-based workshop for Key Stage 3 (KS3) pupils.
Hear what some of our Young Innovators from 2023 thought of the sessions.
The Young Innovators returned in July and each delivered a pitch presentation to a judging panel made of our senior executives, an independent board member, our Stakeholder Challenge Panel Chair and a group of KS3 students from a local secondary school.
The judges were blown away by the Young Innovators' ingenuity and presentation skills as the teams delivered a range of pitches including app designs and board games, enabling learners to develop their understanding of each topic through gameplay and promoting challenge and exploration of the world of water.
Their ideas included:
- A ‘Water Guardians’ app about the risks associated with water insecurity
- A snakes-and-ladder style board game called ‘Mother Duck’, based around water pollution
- A detailed set of cards on water efficiency collecting (glass) water bottles
- And our winners, an across-the-world game covering all manner of places and challenges focussed on water and climate change
The winning idea has been developed into a workshop to engage KS3 students. We are also planning to use all the ideas generated by our Young Innovators as part of our education outreach for 2024.
Feedback from our Young Innovators in 2023
“I enjoyed the work experience and also the experience of talking to other people from my generation about the future.”
“An amazing opportunity to meet new and fun people.”
The benefits of being on the Young Innovators' Panel
Being a Young Innovator gives you the opportunity to:
- Influence decisions made by senior management relating to a given task
- See inside the workings of a major business
- Gain first-hand experience presenting ideas to senior directors
- Meet and make friends with like-minded sixth-formers from around the region
- Receive a formal reference for use in UCAS or apprenticeship applications
- Gain a reward up to £100 for taking part
The Young Innovators' Panel is planned to return to the returning to the South Staffs region in 2025.