TechFest’s final call for Secondary Pupils to save the nation’s dying high street

Pupils exploring TechFest

SCOTTISH Charity, TechFest, is issuing its final call for secondary pupils in Scotland to play their part in reimagining their local high streets. 

Registration for the TechFest Blueprint challenge closes on September 11th and is open to all S3-S6 students who want to share their ideas on how to create a high street that allows society to thrive while celebrating the natural world at the same time.  

TechFest’s Blueprint Challenge is a collaboration with Bluewater, a specialist private equity firm focused on global energy. The initiative has been developed through Bluewater’s charitable division to inspire children to think about future energy and how this can be integral to a better environment and social agendas. 

Pupils are asked to take into consideration ”modern problems” surrounding architecture, economic stability, power generation and consumption, and how they can bring energy,technology and nature together to create a high street that meets Net Zero targets and encourages nature and community to grow. The goal is a modern and progressive high street that is not simply about retail. 

Sarah Chew, TechFest managing director said: “The Scottish high street is in crisis, and we need urgent action to save them, which is why the TechFest Blueprint Challenge is a huge opportunity to champion the youth voice and help transform how we use our high streets. 

“We were blown away by the designs of last year’s participants – it was great to see students think of ideas that not only support a net-zero targets but also have community spirit at the heart of it. We’re looking forward to the launch day on September 12th and can’t wait to see what this year’s schools have in store for us!” 

Bringing life back to the high street has been a hugely challenging task for local authorities and TechFest’s Blueprint Challenge has been designed to champion ideas that can help regenerate towns and cities throughout the country. 

Last year’s competition winners from Carnoustie High School impressed judges with their eco-friendly car-less high street. The ‘Carnoustie Carbon Initiative’ proposal included inspirational ideas such as removing cars and instead seeing residents travel underground via a tram system powered by wind and wave energy. Other innovative ideas included an eco-dome where residents can grow their own produce and capturing the increasing volume of rainfall with an advanced drainage system that gathers and re-uses rainwater from the permeable pavements. 

Speaking during last year’s awards, Dr Mustard, Principal Teacher Raising Achievement/Teacher of Biology at Carnoustie High School, said: “The task allowed them great insight into the High Street challenges that are currently being faced. It brought real meaning and relevance to their learning. 

“A huge thank you to the TechFest team for inspiring our pupils.”  

Schools have until September 11th to register a team ahead of the project launch on September 12th.  

Teams will work together to create a project summary by the end of November, followed by a presentation day in December, where they will display their projects to a panel of experts, with a further opportunity to display their work as part of TechFest’s Science Festival in May 2024.   

The competition is curriculum-aligned, and students and teachers will receive comprehensive support materials, including a series of online webinars with industry professionals and an opportunity for students to showcase their skills to the local community. 

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