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PJEA students awarded global winner of the DECA Idea Challenge 2016

Peter Jones Enterprise Academy students at Leicester College have been named global champions of the DECA Idea Challenge 2016 for the College and University category.

The DECA Idea Challenge is a fast-paced exercise that asks primary school, secondary school and university students to find an innovative new use for a common, everyday item in just eight days. This year’s item was the plastic bottle and the prize was $750.

Gigar Surendracumar and Andy Hill from the PJEA paired up with two Foundation Degree Travel and Tourism students from the college, Marie Simmonds and Natasha Green. The team collaborated to produce the winning idea: recycling plastic bottles to create covers for exposed plug and wiring systems in order to protect children from electric shocks.

Winning student Marie Simmonds said: “Many poorer countries do not have the safest electrical infrastructure and we felt the exposed electrical power sockets were a threat to children, hence creating something that will protect them using the plastic bottle.”

The team of four was inspired by their mentors Louise Palfreyman of Louise Palfreyman Consulting, and Heather Wildsmith and Lydia Allen from the National Youth Agency. Louise encouraged the students to think innovatively, whilst Heather and Lydia brought expertise from their backgrounds in youth and environment work.

This was the third year that the college has entered the competition. Last year, they reached the final, and their win this year is a fantastic achievement against fierce competition. The challenge saw more than 2,000 entries from sixteen countries around the world, including Algeria, China, India, Jamaica, the United Arab Emirates and New Zealand.

You can learn more about the team’s creation by watching their entry video here.

Many congratulations to the students on such a wonderful achievement!