The programme was launched in October https://tfl.gov.uk/info-for/schools-and-young-people/innovate-tfl and the group had just 6 weeks to come together and complete the following tasks:
- Decide on a project.
- Create an ‘advert’ for their innovation (30 seconds), which could be animated, infographics or any medium viewed on a screen.
- Film a 5-minute presentation in school with all team members contributing. The presentation had to consist of a PowerPoint with students presenting to camera, that would be judged on content, not production values.
- A design of their innovation in a medium of their choice: this could be a physical model, a computer aided design model, a technical picture or an artistic impression.
The Yavneh Trainiac Team was made up of eight Year 12 students who were friends studying a wide range of subjects between them at A level – sciences, arts and humanities. They made it to the finals which were held in the majestic Institution of Mechanical Engineers, where the students had to answer a range of questions from a panel of experts. Feedback after the event was extraordinary, with professionals in the field commenting on the cohesiveness of the group, their ability to communicate their ideas effectively, the extremely high quality of their original video and how comfortable they felt with their British and Jewish Identity.
The team worked fantastically well and very little mentoring was required from Mrs Shiradski or Mrs Kent who were blown away by how cohesive a unit they became and how they solved problems they encountered. Every member of the group gained a real sense of team work, the importance of effective communication, completing tasks they were assigned to carry out, the need to be respectful of each other at all times and meeting strict deadlines.
Whilst the Yavneh Trainiacs didn’t win the competition they did win two weeks’ work experience with TfL as a reward for getting to the finals in July 2017.
We are looking forward to inviting all Yavneh College Sixth Form students to the launch of this year’s TfL Innovate competition on Tuesday 17 October at 8:15am in room 109 with members of TfL Innovate team, including Mr Andrew Hyman, and last year’s Yavneh finalists.
Erin Waks, the Yavneh Trainiacs group leader, has written a short article looking at the competition from her perspective.
TfL Competition by Erin Waks
In October 2016, we were given the opportunity to enter Transport for London’s ‘Innovate’ Challenge. Seven other Year 12 students and I seized the opportunity. Our group consisted of me, the Project Manager, a Creative team, a Finance group and Research and Technical members. Although the competition was mainly Science and Engineering based, our team had a range of strengths and interests, including art and design, writing and marketing.
After hours of investigation and a failed attempt at market research, we finalised our idea: a wind- powered generator situated on trains which would both partially power the train as well as energise an electronic sign displaying information about delays, cancellations and platform capacity and closures. We had help from Mrs Shiradski and Mrs Kent in the Science Department, but carried out all the work ourselves, from filming our advert and five-minute presentation to illustrating our innovation and clearly proposing our ideas.
Despite our efforts, we did not think we would make it through the first round. Unperturbed by this, we continued to work to the best of our ability and spent huge amounts of time finalising our project, staying awake late into the night editing our video.
Months passed and we heard nothing – we just assumed that our idea had not been chosen to go through to the final round. One day, we got a call to the office of the Head of Science, where we were told that they had loved our idea and had chosen us to be part of the final four teams, from a total of 19 teams who had entered!
On Friday 10th March, our team – made up of Sam Bakst, Max Bean, Ruby Jacob, Gabi Jessup, Joel Levitan, Sophie Moss, Daniel Simmons and myself – supported by Mrs Shiradski, Mrs Kent and Dr Lee, as well as Mrs Sue Nyman, Chair of Governors at Yavneh, made our way to the Institute of Mechanical Engineers in London where we presented our videos and were asked questions about our innovation by a panel of judges, ranging from the CEO of Cleshar (the project sponsor) to Engineers working at TfL. We also watched the presentations of our competitors and I think we were all in awe of the creativity and ingenuity of the other teams.
After this, we had an hour to meet influential people working at TfL, in addition to business men and women; this was a fantastic opportunity to find out about different careers available in such a big organisation. Personally, I met an apprentice working in the HR Department and the man in charge of the entire Jubilee line! We felt as though we had really accomplished something and could confidently express ourselves in front of so many influential people.
At the end of the day, we received some feedback about our idea. They thought our presentation, which was based on the YouTube phenomenon of ‘Draw my Life’, was excellent. However, we lost to a group who planned to use energy to power the trains obtained from people sitting on chairs on the Tube – an exceptionally innovative idea.
Overall, despite not winning the competition, we all gained important skills such as leadership, working as a team, public speaking, pitching ideas, in conjunction with marketing and advertising skills, and won a week of work experience with TfL. We would urge anyone to enter this or a similar competition as it is a great opportunity to learn about the world of business and develop entrepreneurial skills, regardless of your specific interests!