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24th November 2021

Last month, a group of St Brendan’s students were selected by Wessex Water to take part in their Young People's Panel.

20 young people from schools and colleges around the region were chosen from to take part in what would prove to be an exciting insight into Wessex Water’s business, and to pitch their best ideas. Five of the 20 students selected were from St Brendan’s: Josh, Jessica, Harry, Jake and Charlie.

On the first day the students attended the Young Peoples’ Panel at Wessex Water's head office and learnt all about the company, its challenges and successes.

The students were then split into four smaller teams of five and set their main task. Their project was to work as a team to present ideas and possible solutions for how the company could encourage their customers to save water through their Smart Meters and how to keep them engaged with this long term.

The teams had to work together remotely over the following couple of weeks to prepare a presentation of their ideas. They would need to pitch their ideas at the second Young People's Panel Day later in the month.

The groups needed to think about all parts of the “Smart Meter journey.” From installation to keeping customers engaged with day-to-day usage, and even considering how to keep customers from dis-engaging if they experienced a problem with their Smart Meter.

Their ideas needed to appeal to all age groups and demographics, and had to present a long-term, sustainable solution rather than a short campaign.

The groups got to work quickly, getting to know the people of their team and thinking about ideas. They also worked out ways to keep in touch as they continued to work on their project in the run up to the presentation day.

On their second day at Wessex Water HQ, the teams were given an hour to get together and practice their presentation in person before they stepped up to the plate to pitch their ideas to key representatives from the company, including the managing director of Wessex Water Services.

Jake, who studies History, Sociology, and Music Technology at St Brendan’s, said, “I had a great time at the Panel. It was a good opportunity to try something new and meet other students from around the region. It was also a great chance to learn about how a business like Wessex Water works, and find out more about the different teams and roles.”

“I didn’t know anyone from the smaller team I was put in, but I think we did really well on our presentation, and I was proud with the solutions we came up with which involved using solar panels to really link it to customers' concerns about the climate crisis.”

“I’ve applied to go on to study Archaeology at university after I finish at St Brendan’s. Taking part in the Young People’s Panel has really helped with my application; especially as I was able to include my involvement it my personal statement.”

As well as having the opportunity to have a real influence on the decisions made by senior management and meeting other like-minded sixth formers from around the region, students taking part were given a £100 reward for taking part, and were provided with a formal reference for use in UCAS or apprenticeship applications.