Students from Staffordshire and Derbyshire compete to be crowned the inaugural champions of the JCB Solutions challenge

Throughout January to March, our team engaged with over 2,000 students across 10 schools in Staffordshire and Derbyshire as part of the JCB Solutions challenge. 

The challenge brief was simple: students were tasked with generating a new product which solves a problem that they, their friends or families faced and to create a company around the product to aid its launch into the marketplace.  Students were challenged to focus on a target user, the product design, effective branding in addition to creating a memorable advert and to consider their employee welfare and how they intend to make their company a great place to work!

From heated umbrellas, to cooling in-soles for shoes, our delivery teams were blown away with the ingenious ideas and marketing ideas that the students came up with in each of the 10 schools.

On 25th April, 200 shortlisted students arrived at a very sunny JCB Visitor Centre in Rocester and after a welcome from TILG Delivery Manager, Liam Brookes, were sent on their way to present their ideas to the morning panel of JCB judges and to have a guided tour of the visitor centre.  

The students arrived well prepared, armed with prototypes, branded merchandise and even handmade mascots ensuring that our morning judges had a difficult time shortlisting the 4 teams that would go on to present in the afternoon’s Grand Final and compete to be crowned the inaugural champions of the JCB Solutions challenge.

Whilst our judges deliberated, the students were able to engage with a number of JCB apprentices and heard all about the apprenticeships that are available to them post-16. JCB HR Manager Neil Fowkes explained the importance of attracting young, inspirational talent to the company and how apprenticeships are enabling JCB to drive the business forward – purchasing to finance and manufacturing to marketing, students learnt about apprenticeship opportunities relevant to all future career paths.

TILG were thrilled to welcome back TikTok magician and prankster Ben Hanlin to present the afternoon’s Grand Finals, who is well versed in TILG Finals events after hosting the 2023 TNCC Grand Finals at The ICC in Birmingham.  

After wowing the audience with card tricks and his AMAZING rubix cube skills, Ben led the proceedings and welcomed the shortlisted teams to the stage to present to the afternoon’s judging panel made up of JCB General Managers Matthew Seal, Laura Allins and Robert Taylor and Chief Engineers Steve Slater.  

Congratulations to our shortlisted teams:

Team Hydro Flash – Allestree Woodlands School

Team Health Hero – The de Ferrers Academy

Team Ultimate Umbrella – The de Ferrers Academy

Team In-Sole – Ecclesbourne School

Each shortlisted team presented excellently, exuding confidence and even faced some tough questions from our judging panel.  The judges complimented the student’s passion for their products and their inspirational presentations.  

After tough deliberations, the judging panel announced Team Health Hero from The de Ferrers Academy as the inaugural champions of the JCB Solutions challenge.

A huge congratulations to every team that took part in the Grand Finals event – each student was a credit to themselves and their schools … The future of product development looks very bright in Staffordshire and Derbyshire! 

TILG launch WILDCARD challenge with JCB

As part of The National Careers Challenge in partnership with NatWest Thrive, TILG has launched this academic year’s WILDCARD challenge.   Students will be challenged to create innovative new products for global employer, JCB!

Let your student’s imaginations run wild!  This challenge only has one rule … the new product that they create must solve a problem that they, their friends or their family may face.

This free of charge bonus challenge has been specially designed to fit into one school day, with an estimated 5-hour duration. However, there is also a 60 minute version designed for learners taking part in business studies or multiple form time/ PSHE as a fun break from the traditional curriculum, as a homework task, or general fun from your students home environment!

This versatile content has been developed to allow as much flexibility as possible at your school, encouraging the key skills required for the world of work including time management, organisation, leadership, communication and much more! 

Want to learn more and register your interest for this year’s WILDCARD challenge, follow this link. 

Next Engineers Academy students take to the skies with Glide Path

In March we welcomed our Cohort 3 students back to Stafford for their next Academy sessions.  

Armed with the Engineering Design Principles and knowledge that they have gained during previous Academy sessions, students were tasked with building a foam board glider which was required to meet the success criteria, including covering a distance of at least 30m and remaining intact on landing!

The Glide Path challenge requires more of our students than just building a simple paper aeroplane!  Our students were challenged to utilise their knowledge of the forces of flight, airfoil characteristics (span, camber, aspect ratio etc) and aspect ratios to create a stable and sustained flight.  

In teams, students collaborated to design a glider that they felt met all of the requirements whilst reflecting on their learning throughout the process, before braving the elements (typical Staffordshire Spring weather!) to present their final prototypes and compete to see which glider managed to successfully meet the success factors. 

Congratulations to Team Brown Bucket who were announced as the winning team!

Once the challenge was complete, our Academy students visited the Royal Air Force Museum in Cosford where they were able to view the vast collection of equipment and artefacts covering all areas of aviation history and the RAF. 

We are looking forward to welcoming our Cohort 3 students back to Stafford at the end of May!

The National Careers Challenge launches in the UAE with AtkinsRéalis

Following the launch of the “School of the Future” challenge with AtkisRéalis for Year 10 students as part of The National Careers Challenge in partnership with NatWest Thrive, TILG are delighted to announce that the challenge has now launched in the UAE.

70 students from the Dubai English Speaking College were supported by representatives from AtkinsRéalis as they worked their way through the virtual challenge, which saw students creating a “School of the Future” focused on sustainability and community support.  

TILG co-founder Ben Dyer said, “Taking TNCC global has always been an aspiration of TILG and following our involvement with China through a partnership with SKT Education & Beyond, we are excited to launch TNCC to the UAE with AtkinsRéalis.  AtkinsRéalis’s commitment to creating a transformative, future-focused education system is mirrored in our Year 10 challenge and we are thrilled to have enabled students in the UAE to experience The National Careers Challenge. We look forward to growing the challenge in UAE”.

To learn more about The National Careers Challenge and future opportunities, please contact

TILG and Air Products team up to engage learners in Immingham

Students in 10 schools in Immingham and the surrounding areas will take part in a new delivery project with Air Products enabling young people to learn more about Air Product’s state-of-the-art new Green Energy Terminal.

The terminal will be the first ever large-scale green hydrogen production facility in the UK and is expected to create 1,400 jobs in Immingham – worth up to £4.6 billion to the local economy!

In addition to learning more about the project, students will also discuss the skills required for the world of work including both transferable and future skills, interview skills and apprenticeship opportunities with local provider CATCH among much more.

TILG Delivery Manager Liam Brookes said, “We are thrilled to be delivering such an important project to the students of Immingham with Air Products.  So far, students have engaged brilliantly with the project and are keen to understand what their future world of work may look like with opportunities such as the new Green Energy Terminal. It’s a real pleasure to deliver this project on behalf of the team at Air Products and to continue developing our relationship with our Year 7 TNCC sponsors”.

TILG launch 2024 TNCC challenges at prestigious House of Lords event

To celebrate the eleventh year of The National Careers Challenge in partnership with NatWest Thrive, TILG officially launched 4 brand new challenges for the 2024 academic year at the House of Lords.  

The National Careers Challenge in partnership with NatWest Thrive (TNCC) is the UK’s largest enterprise and employability competition for secondary schools and has helped to inspire over 600,000 students since its inception. Working in mixed ability groups, students are set tasks inspired by the workplace, working on a variety of cross-curricular tasks to develop and hone key employability skills to enable them to thrive in the working world. 

Delivered into a multitude of settings including mainstream, SEND, grammar and independent schools, along with Alternative Provision and Pupil Referral Units, the challenge is non-discriminatory and Ben and Michael are staunch advocates of equality of opportunity, regardless of social standing or academic attainment. Every school taking part is invited to send their winning teams to the Grand Final, where learners pitch their ideas in front of industry experts. The Grand Finals are a celebration of skills, enterprise and employability, hosted by celebrities including Jason Manford, Perri Kiely and Jordan Banjo of Diversity (Britain’s Got Talent-winning dance troupe) and children’s TV legends ‘Dick and Dom’. 

TILG founders Ben and Michael Dyer were delighted to announce this years 4 challenge sponsors and a representative from each of the companies:

Year 7 Challenge sponsor – Air Products PLC – ‘Hydrogen Challenge
Year 8 Challenge sponsor – JCB – ‘Machine of the Future
Year 9 Challenge sponsor – NatWest Thrive – ‘Start Local, Think Global
Year 10 Challenge sponsor – AtkinsRéalis – ‘School of the Future

Ben and Michael were also joined by Baroness Morgan of Cotes (Secretary of State for Education 2014-16), Carl Ward (CEO of City Learning Trust and Chair of The Foundation for Education Development, in addition to Chair of The Inspirational Learning Group) and Sally Land (Careers Lead at The de Ferrers Academy – challenge participants since 2013), who all spoke about the importance of enterprise and entrepreneurialism in a well-rounded curriculum and the impact of The National Careers Challenge.

The event was rounded off with the announcement of the 2024 TNCC Grand Finals which will be held at Doncaster Racecourse on Tuesday 9th July.

Ben Dyer said, “TILG prides itself on collaborating with innovative companies to develop exciting challenges for young people, helping to bridge the gap between the classroom and the world of work.  Our sponsors this year are of the highest quality and we look forward to continuing to work with long-standing sponsors of the challenge, Air Products and NatWest in addition to welcoming JCB and AtkinsRéalis to the challenge – here’s to a fantastic academic year and inspiring even more young people across the country”.

“I’m really confident that the Next Engineers Programme could take me to where I wanted and help me achieve my dreams!”

Following on from Next Engineers: Engineering Experience last summer, which saw TILG hosting 200 aspiring young engineers on-site in Stafford, the team are now busy engaging with even more young people as part of Next Engineers: Engineering Academy.

Engineering Academy enables aspiring engineers to learn engineering skills, preparing them for further education at university or training through an apprenticeship programme.  This transformative learning experience is held outside of school hours and over 3 years, students participate in a series of immersive design challenges, career coaching and educational workshops to equip themselves with the skills required for a career within engineering. 

TILG recently welcomed our newest students as part of Cohort 3 and we caught up with some of them to find out about their experience so far!

Was Next Engineers: Engineering Academy what you expected it to be like? 

“It was better than expected and a much more relaxed and fun environment. The instructors are all friendly and we’re all treated as equals. It’s easy to share ideas and communicate even with new people in your class.”
– Niamh 

“I didn’t really know what to expect of the course, I thought it may have been a bit too much like school where we just sat and learned but the activities have so far been interesting.”
– Maxwell

 How did you feel when you found out you had been successful with your application? 

“I felt really proud when I was selected and excited to see where my journey could take me, especially as I have such a passion for motorsport, I’m really confident that the Next Engineers Programme could take me to where I wanted and help me achieve my dreams!”
– Niamh

“I was really pleased that I had been selected because I had put effort into my application and wanted it to pay off. It will also act as a really important insight into the workings of a project: the problem solving, etc.”
– Maxwell

What is your favourite part of the experience so far? 

“Even if your project fails, I enjoy meeting new team members and collaborating with them to create something. Working together to design and test something makes you feel really proud but it also helps you to reflect as a team and see where you can improve even if it’s just about improving communication or time management.”
– Niamh

“I would say my favourite part of the days so far has been the elastic boat race because it involved the most thought into the design and the workings of the boat, especially into the slow release of the tension in the elastic band.”
– Maxwell

What are you looking forward to the most across your Academy experience? 

“I’m looking forward to when we can apply our skills to real life examples even in our jobs in the future, and being able to look back knowing how much this programme trained us. In the next 3 years I’m looking forward to being able to meet people in the careers we aspire to and seeing how we can achieve those careers and goals.”
– Niamh

“I’m most looking forward to the tours of the different facilities and what they are doing there. I hope there will be some really interesting projects going on as we visit the sites.”
– Maxwell

If you would like to discuss the Next Engineers initiative further with our team you can contact us directly at

Looking forward to the next academic year with The Inspirational Learning Group and Next Engineers

September is a busy month for everyone included in education in the United Kingdom.  From schools starting their academic year’s and students and teachers returning from the 6 week holidays, the month of September signals the start of a fresh new year and it’s no different for the team at The Inspirational Learning Group!

Following on from a packed summer with summer school provisions across the country and of course, hosting 200 aspiring young engineers as part of Staffordshire’s Next Engineers: Engineering Experience, TILG are now preparing for their busiest year to date which includes investing in Staffordshire’s young people – the future engineers who will drive the change the world needs, in collaboration with Next Engineers.

But what can teachers and students expect from TILG’s first full academic year working with Next Engineers, read on to find out more …

Engineering Academy

Calling all Year 11 students in Staffordshire! Do you thrive during STEM subjects at school?  Would you like the opportunity to develop foundational skills to assist in preparing you for higher education and ultimately an engineering based career? 

The Engineering Academy enables aspiring engineers to learn engineering skills, preparing them for further education at university or training through an apprenticeship programme.  This transformative learning experience is held outside of school hours and over 3 years, students participate in a series of immersive design challenges, career coaching and educational workshops to equip themselves with the skills required for a career within engineering.

Our next cohort for Engineering Academy will start in January 2024 and will run during selected weekends and school holidays at Staffordshire University (proposed schedule here). 

Applications are now open and will close on Friday 3rd November!  

The TILG team are also delivering information assemblies with Staffordshire Schools between now and the application deadline …

Teachers, do not miss this opportunity for your Year 11 students to learn more about the Engineering Academy – contact our team directly at to learn more and book your own assembly led by our team.

Engineering Discovery

Teachers, it’s never too early for students to consider their future world of work and our Engineering Discovery sessions aimed at Year 9 students, are the perfect opportunity for students to explore and build awareness around careers in engineering.  These bite size sessions delivered at your school are creative, engaging and provide your students with hands-on activities led by our wonderful engineering facilitators.  

School engagement for this project will commence shortly, however why not contact our team at to discover more about this amazing opportunity for your Year 9 students!

Engineering Camp

We couldn’t talk about all of the wonderful opportunities open to Staffordshire based students without mentioning the Engineering Camp which will run again next summer following amazing feedback from this summer’s participants and parents!  

The camp ran across a fortnight, with two cohorts of 100 students each week participating in design challenges inspired by real-world scenarios and immersing themselves into the world of engineering!  From field trips to General Electric sites and Staffordshire University, to building fully-functioning hydraulic arms and a weekly showcase event, the Engineering Camp was a tremendous success and our team cannot wait to offer this opportunity to aspiring engineers in Years 9 and 10 in Staffordshire schools. 

Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled on our social media channels for more information regarding next summer’s camp as we release further details and information in early 2024!

Phew … it’s going to be a busy academic year for the TILG team and all of our engineering students!  The Inspirational Learning Group is changing the way that young people are educated about their future and is delighted to be working with Next Engineers to bring such opportunities to the young people in Staffordshire.

To contact our team regarding any of the opportunities detailed above, please email or call 01785 550160.

TILG acquired by Co-founders Ben and Michael Dyer

TILG co-founders, Ben and Michael Dyer, would like to announce that The Inspirational Learning Group has been re-acquired from LaunchMyCareer Holdings PLC (LMCH) (formerly Dev Clever Holdings PLC). Ben and Michael are the driving forces behind TILG and are passionate about their service and products, which deliver engaging careers solutions and activities in schools and educational institutions in association with employers in the UK. The decision by the founders to re-acquire the business from LMCH was viewed as the best option in the current business environment, to ensure the company could continue to deliver the National Career’s Challenge, which has been inspiring young people across the UK for over 10 years. This action is an example of their unwavering commitment to the vision and values that have shaped the company over the years. 

We want to assure you that this transition will be seamless, with minimal impact on our operations and services. Our priority remains delivering top-quality learning experiences that empower individuals to achieve their full potential. 

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all our customers and market partners who have been an integral part of our growth story. Your trust and support inspire us to continue striving for excellence.

The Inspirational Learning Group celebrate third year of successful summer of school provision.

The summer holidays may see schools across the UK close for a well-deserved break, however for TILG’s facilitation team there is no rest! For the third consecutive year, TILG has been busy engaging with young people across the Midlands, as part of their summer school provision.

From building proto-type roller coasters to taking on inflatable assault courses and enjoying colour runs, over 500 Key Stage 2 and 3 pupils in the Midlands have certainly had a summer to remember whilst working with TILG’s facilitation teams.

Our traditional summer school provision which saw students tackle our Alien Apocalypse team building challenge (always a hit with our summer school students!) and visits from the Animal Man, ran alongside the General Electric Engineering Experience, which also saw our team working with over 200 aspiring engineers across 2 weeks.  Over the fortnight, 2 cohorts of 100 students worked in teams to utilise their “Engineering Habits of Mind” through the completion of real-life engineering projects such as “Save The Water” challenge, building a fully-functioning hydraulic arm and the formidable “Trebuchet” challenge.

Liam Brookes, Education Programmes Manager said, “This summer’s provision has been incredibly rewarding and my team and I have had the pleasure of engaging with and watching young people grow in skill and confidence throughout their summer school experiences.  This year has been a challenge for the facilitation team who have delivered a diverse range of activities from engineering and STEM based tasks to our more traditional summer school activities and I am proud of their flexibility and enthusiasm when stepping up to the task and engaging  excellently with our summer school participants”.

“My favourite part of this week was the inflatables because I got to have fun with my friends and and make some amazing memories that I’ll never forget.  I have had an awesome week with Annie, Nicki, Lucy and Chris and I don’t want it to end”Summer School participant

“This week I enjoyed working with my team to build a shelter from 5 items to protect us from the Alien Apocalypse! I also really enjoyed working with TILG staff, they were so nice and we are so thankful that we had them for the week!”Summer School participant

“We’ve learned about time management and project management constraints, which has been really valuable” – Engineering Experience Week 1 team

If you would like a bespoke programme as part of your extended curriculum and half-term breaks, you can contact us by clicking here.

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