Solutions for the Planet 2022


“We’re really proud to be continuing our partnership of the Big Ideas Programme for the eighth year. Each year, mentors – who volunteer many hours to support the Big Ideas Programme – feel a real sense of pride and satisfaction from taking part, gaining not only community engagement experience but making a real difference to young people’s lives.”

Mark Wood, Tarmac’s managing director for the South East, and chair of Solutions for the Planet (S4TP)

Tarmac continued to help school children work up award-winning sustainable business plans in line with the Big Ideas Programme run by Solutions for the Planet (S4TP). S4TP is a social enterprise that aims to build partnerships between businesses and schools to promote sustainability, and science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) careers.

The programme is aimed at students aged 11 to 14 and is delivered in collaboration with Tarmac and other partners through employee volunteering. Throughout the year Tarmac employees have been volunteering at local schools, helping students with their business plans to solve a sustainability issue. Tarmac mentors helped provide insider industry knowledge to make their plans as comprehensive as possible.

Some highlights from the 2022 programme include:

  • Over 3,000 students from 23 schools got involved with the Big Ideas Programme
  • Over 506 teams created Big Ideas, 150 teams submitted to the Big Ideas Competition, 73 were shortlisted for the regional finals
  • 30 representatives from Tarmac were involved - 22 mentors, 3 shortlisting judges, 4 regional final judges and 1 national final judge
  • Seven teams from Tarmac-assigned schools got through to the National Final
  • A total of 625 mentoring and judging hours were completed by Tarmac employees as part of S4TP

Proposals, from young teams throughout the UK, were submitted to the Big Ideas Competition at the end of March 2022, with 73 of them being shortlisted for the seven regional finals. Following the end of Covid-19 restrictions, in 2022 the regional finals could be held in person again at universities around the country. From these regional finals, twelve teams then got through to the national final, held at the Palace of Westminster.

Some of the finalists included ‘Carbon Vac’, a specially-designed carbon capture self-piloting helicopter, ‘Charge Find’ an app which owners of an electric car could use to locate their nearest charging point, and the 2022 winners – ‘RHG’ planet-friendly plant pots and vases made from recycled materials and embedded with plant food.

Jen Baughan, CEO of S4TP, said: “Our Big Ideas Programme lets young people explore STEM subjects and sustainability through independent learning and their own creative thinking. The confidence they develop and the belief they have in their ideas is truly inspiring. It’s mainly down to their enthusiasm and commitment, plus the dedication and help from their teachers and mentors from our key business partners such as Tarmac.”