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! 

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