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Students triumph at BP STEM festival

Six teams of aspiring engineers have been presented with special awards for their innovative solutions to complex engineering problems at BP’s annual STEM festival

Go4Set outstanding project: Tiffin Girls school

Go4SET innovative project: Tiffin Boys school

Go4SET peoples choice award: Reach Academy

EES people's choice award: Space Studio School

EES innovation award (sponsored by Airbus): Aylesbury Grammar

EES contribution to the business award (sponsored by BP): Wimbledon High school

BP’s STEM festival is one of the highlights of the year as we open our doors to over 130 students who have taken part in one of two engineering challenges, designed by the Engineering Development Trust (EDT) and supported by BP.  

These six teams, all from local Schools Link schools, have demonstrated their passion for STEM and shown great team work and communication skills, impressing both the judges and their fellow students. We are delighted to congratulate them and all the teams for attending the STEM Festival and thank them for making it such a lively and inspiring day.


The annual STEM Festival has been running for 12 years, ten of which have been held at BP’s International Centre for Business and Technology (ICBT) in West London. In that time over 1,000 students have completed one of the two programmes on offer, run by the Engineering Development Trust and funded by BP, Go4Set and the Engineering Education Scheme (EES).


The younger students worked on a 10-week project entitled ‘Challenging Environments’ which encouraged them to think about how science and technology can help people live and work in some of the harshest environments on Earth. They worked in small teams to address the problem, created a project plan and presented a report and a physical model to demonstrate their approach and solution. 

A business mentor with an engineering or science background was allocated to each team to help them with their project, providing business context, guidance and to help them challenge their thinking as they developed their projects.


Doing this project will be beneficial for my future, it's really helped me develop my engineering skills and I loved being able to use cool tools like the laser cutter. It’s made me even more determined to become an engineer.Pupil,Lampton school



The older students tackled a six-month engineering project. The theme for the project was set by the mentor for each team and was based on a real-world challenge that the mentor’s company is currently facing. Examples included coming up with alternative ways to build structures on the seabed, to creating a renewably powered oil tanker. 

During the project phase, students were encouraged to show industrial enterprise, creativity and innovation while gaining extensive experience of problem-solving, team-working and project management. They were also provided with access to university facilities to build and test their solutions. In some instances, the solutions developed by the students were so good that they went on to be implemented by the business.


Working with my school I found that the pupils benefited not just from my expertise as an engineer but also my knowledge as an employee. We had some great discussions about how to write CV’s, what options to take after school and appropriate work etiquette.Nicola Cummings,reservoir engineer


Upon completion of each project the students are awarded two separate nationally recognised awards, the CREST Award and the Industrial Cadets Awards. This allows the students to demonstrate their achievements to potential employers. In addition to these awards four teams were presented with a special award for their achievements.


Before presenting the awards to the winning teams, Tamara Holmgren, a chartered civil engineer and projects and modifications manager at BP, shared her passion for engineering in a speech to the students and their families. She said that the key to becoming a great engineer was to always be curious and interested in the world around you and to not be afraid to ask for help when you don’t understand.


We found budgeting quite challenging and burnt through most of our money at the start so we had to be quite creative at the end to complete our project with minimal funds!Pupil,Aylesbury Grammar


The STEM Festival is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the students’ hard-work and provides them with a chance to present their findings to parents, teachers and to a panel of judges provided by BP and other local companies. The judges look for innovative solutions that show an excellent grasp of the STEM issues raised in the project and awards are based on presentation, teamwork, creativity and sustainability.


The event finished with a speech from keynote speaker, Tamara Holmgren, civil engineer and BP project manager, who then presented the three teams with their outstanding achievement awards for their projects.


Achieving your goals takes a combination of resolution, hard work, setting achievable goals and building a support network; then giving something back by helping others.Tamara Holgren,projects and modifications manager, Eastern Hemisphere


Upon completion of each project the students were also awarded two separate nationally recognised awards, the CREST award and the Industrial Cadet Award. This allows the students to demonstrate their achievements to potential employers. 


STEM skill shortage

The UK is facing a shortage of young people studying STEM subjects and progressing into science and engineering based jobs. Research has shown that the exposure of younger age groups to STEM related employers encourages more students to choose post-16 courses in these subject areas, eventually leading to the study of STEM degrees at university.

BP supports programmes such as this as it provides an opportunity for employee mentors to work closely with young people to show them how their school work can apply to their futures careers, to explore the career opportunities that are available to young people and to inspire them to be the future generation of engineers. Business mentors in turn learn valuable personal and professional skills that they can take back to the work place to enable them to be more effective.


Winning teams

The following teams were given special awards for their achievements on completing their projects:



  • Outstanding project: Tiffin Girls
  • Most innovative project: Tiffin Boys
  • People's choice: Reach Academy


Engineering Education Scheme

  •  People's choice: Space Studio School
  •  Innovation award (sponsored by Airbus): Aylesbury Grammar
  • Contribution to business award (sponsored by BP): Wimbledon High


Congratulations to all participating schools

EES Programme

  • Aylesbury Grammar School
    The Bishop Wand Church of England School
  • The Heathland School
  • Lampton School
  • Sir William Perkins' School
  • Space Studio West London
  • St Johns School
  • Three Rivers Academy
  • Tiffin Girls School
  • Wimbledon High School

Go4Set Programme

  • The Heathland School 
  • The Heathland School Team 2
  • Reach Academy 
  • Royal Grammar School
  • Space Studio School
  • Space Studio School Team 2
  • Tiffin Girls School 
  • Tiffin Boys School