PUPILS at Forth Valley College have begun taking part in a new eco-friendly challenge which will culminate with an event at the Falkirk-site's brand new campus next year.

The challenge will enable modern apprentices across Scotland to develop innovative low carbon solutions to real issues currently being faced by industry.

The Fuel Change challenge will involve apprentices tackling real carbon challenges set by a range of industry partners from the private sector; with five companies already supporting the initiative including Alexander Dennis Limited, BAM Nuttall, Scottish Power Energy Networks, National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS) and Spirit Aerosystems.

The aim is to hit the target of a low carbon Scotland and create real, practical solutions which can not only be implemented by the partner companies, but potentially be implemented across the world and make a real difference to climate change.

Challenges will be focused on barriers to a low carbon economy or opportunities to create a product or service, which could develop a low carbon market offering.

Apprentices will bring a unique practical perspective to solutions, different to many other innovation challenges before, and expert insight into the operations and processes of an organisation and how their ideas could be applied in the real world.

The challenge will take place over a number of months through a series of three to four week "sprints" culminating in a national showcase expected to take place in February 2021 at Forth Valley College's new £78million Falkirk Campus.

The aim is not to find a sole winner but to take forward all ideas worthy of implementation, although there will be prizes awarded to successful teams.

Dr Ken Thomson OBE, principal for Forth Valley College, said: "We're very much behind this new and exciting challenge and I'm pleased that a number of our apprentices and their employers are taking part.

"This is an excellent opportunity for them to take everything they've learnt so far and apply it in order to tackle real world problems.

"At Forth Valley College, we believe that these types of challenges are an excellent way to engage learners and ensure they are creative, flexible, resilient and change ready."