Promising students have been recognised for their remarkable creations at the prestigious 22nd Innovation Awards ceremony, held yesterday (13 December) at the Pierhead, Cardiff Bay.
Welsh inventors have been instrumental in bringing the world some of its most game-changing inventions including the modern microphone, X-ray, and radar technology. WJEC’s annual Innovation Awards, in partnership with the Welsh Government, aims to encourage future generations to continue this legacy by challenging the design of everyday products and services, and finding innovative solutions to real life problems.
The awards returned following a 2-year absence due to the pandemic, whereby students, teachers, and parents from schools and colleges from across Wales gathered at the Pierhead to celebrate and reward the most original project work by students studying Design and Technology at GCSE, AS and A level.
Despite the pandemic’s undeniable impact on learning, the judges commended students for ‘overcoming considerable challenges to produce innovative concepts and products’. The ‘high standard’ of entrants in this year’s competition were said to highlight the ‘breadth of innovation and ambition held by students’ and was a ‘cause for great celebration’.
Finnley Colwill-Downs, from Brynteg Comprehensive School won first prize in the AS level category for his fresh ‘Crutch Design Proposal’. The judges were impressed with his revitalised design of a walking aid and commended his good use of ergonomic data to fit human bodies, with enhanced features where the aid is held, gripped and how the device cushions impact as the user moves.
After winning Finnley said: “I really don’t know what to say – I’m really surprised! I’d like to thank my Design & Technology teacher – my favourite teacher who truly wanted me to do well and pushed me to accomplish things. And of course, my parents, who have always encouraged me to do well in school. I’d also like to thank my girlfriend, who gave me an extra push during a pretty rubbish year.”
Ewan Brough, also from Brynteg Comprehensive School, achieved second prize in the AS level category for his excellent ‘Integrated Kitchen knife Block’. An improved kitchen block, removing the risk of young / small children gaining access to knives from the block. The judges praised the unique locking system – creative Computer-Aided Design (CAD) work, with effective 3D Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) output.
Ewan said: “I feel very happy that I’ve won an award. This competition has been a great thing to do. I’d like to thank my parents and teachers – they helped me through the entire process. I’d also like to thank my peers for spurring me on when I was making the design. It’s been a really fun process!”
Niamh Harris, also from Brynteg Comprehensive School, won the Intellectual Property Prize for her ‘Pressure Washer Concept Proposal’. The portable pressure washer allows the user to walk freely with no reliance on power cables. The judges commended the high-quality design work and development process which examined critically the needs and wants of a user.
After receiving her award, Nimah said: “I’m chuffed to be a winner! I’d like to thank my teacher, Mr Harper, he’s a really great teacher to be fair. And I’d also like to thank the headteacher – Brynteg is a really good school!”
WJEC Chief executive Ian Morgan said:
“It has been an honour to revel in the success of these students at this awards ceremony. It is vital to recognise young talent in Wales and celebrate the level of commitment and hard work that goes into producing these products.
“A huge congratulations is in order for all the winners. You’ve all demonstrated incredible dedication and determination in developing these ideas and bringing them to life. You should be immensely proud of your achievement. The ability to channel creativity into something imaginative and beneficial to society is a rare talent. I am sure these are just the first of many exciting achievements and inventions to come, and we look forward to seeing where your studies take you next. I’m confident to say that the future of Welsh design and innovation is in very safe hands!
“We also recognise that there is a huge amount of support from teachers and family members who are there, every step of the way, supporting these young people’s creative endeavours – thank you!”
Ian went on to recognise the ‘continued support from the Welsh Government’ and said: “Their ongoing support is enormously appreciated, without which, the Innovation Awards simply could not take place.”
Jeremy Miles MS, the Minister for Education and Welsh Language, who attended the award ceremony, said:
“I’m really pleased to present the Student Innovation Awards again this year. The high standards of entries are fine examples of what Wales can achieve through science, technology and innovation. The awards showcase the talent, the enthusiasm and the commitment of our young people across Wales. Congratulations to everyone who made it to the finals!”