Solutions for the Planet


“The Big Ideas Programme has successfully pivoted three times over the course of 2021. This would not have been possible without the ongoing belief, investment and support from our National Business Partner, Tarmac. Now in our 7th Year of Partnership, Tarmac, through the Big Ideas Programme, has continued to seed their own future by investing in young people and their own employee development.”

Jen Baughan, CEO of Solutions for the Planet

In 2020-21 we continued our commitment to helping young people tackle sustainability issues as Tarmac signed up to be a partner with Solutions for the Planet for our seventh year running. Solutions for the Planet is a social enterprise, working with businesses, schools and communities to promote Education for Sustainable Development, social enterprise, and science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) careers for young people.

In the midst of a global pandemic that made every week uncertain, more than 1800 young people across the UK started thinking about what issues mattered most to them. In teams they came up with hundreds of new Big Ideas that they believed could have a really positive impact on the world.

Highlights from the 2020/21 Big Ideas Programme

  • Over 1,800 young people from 13 schools got involved in the Big Ideas Programme
  • 500 pieces of work were completed by these students
  • 432 teams created Big Ideas in schools, 96 teams submitted to the Big Ideas Competition, 51 were shortlisted for the regional finals
  • 38 representatives from Tarmac involved – 30 mentors, 3 shortlisting judges, 4 regional final judges, 1 national final judge
  • A total of 724 mentoring and judging hours contributed by Tarmac employees

This year was a challenge and saw the first ever 100% virtual Big Ideas Programme. To do this online forums ‘Big Ideas Out of the Box’ and the ‘Bitesize Big Ideas’ were created so that the schools could still kick off the programme and students could get involved.

The regional and national finals were held virtually and saw teams of young people present their Big Ideas to a virtual panel and showed how vital their voices are. Some of the finalist ideas included; ‘Save Our Earth’ a gaming app to raise awareness about global warming and ‘Waste Warriors’, a community garden where people can bring waste food to be regrown or composted.

Jen Baughan, CEO of Solutions for the Planet said: At this critical time for the planet, with sustainability at the top of everyone’s agenda, never has it been more important to work in Partnership for the Goals (SDG17) and support the upskilling of future talent with the essential skills they will need for Greener Careers.”