A team of young engineers from Wood’s Reading, UK base have claimed two prizes for their work with children from local scout groups to tackle loss of biodiversity in fish habitats and improve mental health.
Wood’s engineers were awarded the Best Presentation and Overall Winner prizes at the Project Management Challenge 2021/2022 from the Association for Project Management (APM) Thames Valley branch.
The APM challenge is an annual competition held in the UK for project management professionals who are aiming to develop and improve their skills in a real-life environment. The theme for this year’s competition was “Resilience”.
Team Regenerate partnered up with local scout groups to provide practical environmental education to children aged 10-14 by building a solution to tackle the loss of biodiversity posed by invasive American signal crayfish in the local area* and across Europe. 80 children were taught to build crayfish traps from recyclable materials during the scout meetings.
Studies have shown that mental-health resilience can be compromised by eco-anxiety and can be linked to a risk of PTSD and depression when children are worried about environmental issues. Research has indicated that children who participate in positive environmental actions can cope better in long-term. (Source: Climate Change and Children’s Mental Health: A Developmental Perspective (Vergunst and Berry, 2021)
By empowering young people to be part of the solution, “Seize the Cray” project aims to improve long-term mental-health resilience in future generations.
To continue this environmental education project, Berkshire Scouts have also been awarded £5,000 of funding from Wood’s Global Cause Challenge 2022 to empower young people to get hands-on, improving biodiversity.
With a passionate presentation and tangible benefit to local community, there could only be one winner on the night, and Team Regenerate triumphed over other finalists BAE Systems AWE Aldermaston, Mott Macdonald to win both prizes of the competition – a first for the competition.
“Team Regenerate have indeed ‘Seized the Cray’ with this opportunity!” said team mentor Chris Sharratt. “I’ve been really impressed with their teamwork and enthusiasm from the initial idea generation and project selection, through the application of project management techniques to achieve the successful project outcome. I was proud at how they positively represented both their project and Wood in the local community”
Sheni Jiwa, project sponsor added: “Team Regenerate have taken on a hugely challenging project whilst managing risks and seeking out opportunities to enhance its benefits by successfully gaining award funding for their project.
“I was greatly impressed by their stakeholder engagement with the Environment Agency and local scouting organisation, which has been key to their success, together with a constant focus on the safety and wellbeing of the young people involved in the project.”
Congratulations to Wood’s second team, Bounce Back on their outstanding achievement as finalists with their project “High Voltage Transportation”, studying investment in electrical vehicle charging facilities at Wood offices.
The High Voltage Transportation project looked to increase the resilience of Wood personnel in response to a rapidly changing energy and transportation market. A comprehensive study report produced by Team Bounce Back delivered recommendations on the implementation of electric vehicle charging facilities at the workplace.
*Local to the Wood Reading office, the River Thames and its tributaries have several at-risk areas such as the River Kennet and Holybrook, where invasive signal crayfish, commercially introduced from North America in 1970s, are wiping out native species and impacting ecosystems.