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Dunclug College students’ ‘solar sea bin’ idea wins innovator competition

Mayor Cllr William McCaughey, with Dunclug College pupils, Peter McMaster, Luke Millar and Adam Paul, Gillian Gregg, Royal Academy of Engineering, Rachael Mills, Technology & Design Teacher, and Principal Niall Oliver.

A team of young innovators whose idea for a solar powered sea bin took the top title in a competition run as part of Mid and East Antrim Apprenticeship Week, has been presented with their award by Mayor, Councillor William McCaughey.

The Green Innovation Competition was organised by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, in partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering, Matrix NI, Manufacturing NI, and Antrim and Newtownabbey and Causeway Coast and Glens Councils, as part of NI Apprenticeship Week.

Northern Ireland Apprenticeship Week 2021 offered a dedicated programme of events and promotional activity to demonstrate how apprenticeships work for individuals, businesses, communities and the wider economy.

As part of the Green Innovation Competition, young people were encouraged to channel their inner engineer and entrepreneur to develop ideas which could change our world for the better.

The challenge asked students to explore the UN Sustainable Development Goals and generate concepts that could improve lives in our community and have the chance to win a 3D Printer and other goodies for their school.

The winning team in the Mid and East Antrim area were the ‘Sea Musketeers’, namely Adam Paul, Luke Millar and Peter McMaster from Year 9 at Dunclug College in Ballymena.

The Sea Musketeers created a solar-fuelled sea bin after researching and prototyping different products.

The team said they would love to see more bins for the sea that are friendly to aqua life and are environmentally friendly.

They are interested in developing bins using recycled plastic with the ‘bin liner’ being made from meshed fibres that will catch oils, dirt and small particles.

The Mayor was joined at the presentation ceremony by Gillian Gregg from the Royal Academy of Engineering, and Rachael Mills, Dunclug College teacher.

Mayor McCaughey congratulated the winning team, adding:

“The creativity demonstrated by those who took part in the Green Innovation Competition was simply fantastic, and shows the wealth of talent that exists among our schools and colleges in Mid and East Antrim.

“New ideas and concepts are key to improving the world we live and work in, on a local and global scale, so to see opportunities for encouraging that process, is very positive.

“I was very impressed by the winning idea from the students in Dunclug College, and it has been inspiring to hear more about the research and reasoning that went into their project. Well done to the ‘Sea Musketeers’!”