Birmingham’s Millennium Point Trust awards Young Innovator Prize

via Lina for Millennium Point

Local student wins degree to pursue career in engineering 

One talented student has been awarded the Millennium Point Trust Young Innovator Prize – an initiative which has secured them a place on a sponsored undergraduate degree at Birmingham City University in the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment (CEBE).

Abigail Lavercombe from St Martin’s School in Solihull competed against six other finalists in a nail-biting live final on Thursday 17th March, where she presented to an audience and an esteemed judging panel in order to win her place on a three-year course starting in September.

The 18-year-old winner, who impressed the judges with her presentation on ‘Urban Futures: Birmingham in 2065’, will also gain experience in the workplace through a summer placement with Millennium Point and other institutions around the city.

Abigail Lavercombe, winner of Young Innovator Prize
Abigail Lavercombe, winner of Young Innovator Prize

Abigail Lavercombe, says: “I can’t believe I won this year’s Young Innovator Prize, it’s definitely a dream come true! Winning a sponsored undergraduate degree now means I can pursue my passion for engineering at Birmingham City University and hopefully go on to have a rewarding career in that field. I am very thankful to be given this once in a lifetime opportunity and can’t wait to start university.”

Now in its second year, this year’s event was hosted by comedian, actor and writer, Robin Ince. The prize was open to all schools, academies and colleges in Birmingham and the Midlands with students then submitting a video application in order to become shortlisted as a finalist.

Conceived by Millennium Point Trust and launched at the end of 2014, the prize is designed to encourage talented young people to study science, technology, engineering or mathematics and ensure that the region retains its reputation as one of the UK’s centres for innovation and research.

Young Innovator Prize finalists with host Robin Ince
Young Innovator Prize finalists with host Robin Ince

The judging panel was made up of Judith Armstrong, CEO at Millennium Point, Simon Handley, associate dean for academic portfolio and market development from Birmingham City University and Lauren Deere, Museum Manager at Thinktank.

This year’s runner up was Jonathan Thompson from South and City College Birmingham, and other finalists included Hassan Haji and Ahmed Ali-Sheik from St Alban’s Academy, Raja Khan from Joseph Chamberlain Sixth Form College and Anwar Patel and Wahid Miah from Holte School. Last year’s Young Innovator Prize winner, Malik Sheryar-Karamat, also attended the event to show his support to this year’s finalists. He is successfully undertaking a mechanical engineering course at Birmingham City University.

Simon Topman, Chair of Millennium Point Trust, says: “With more than 40% of our population consisting of young people, it’s imperative that Birmingham takes action to support the next generation. Additionally, it is widely reported that young women are vastly under-represented in science and technology based careers and it is an honour to crown Abigail as this year’s winner.

“The Young Innovator Prize is a great way we can support the talented individuals of the future and give them the chance to shine, follow their dreams and build a successful career.

On behalf of everyone involved in the Young Innovator Prize, I wish them all the best for a bright future.”

Simon Handley, associate dean for academic portfolio and market development from Birmingham City University, adds: “It has been a privilege to partner with Millennium Point once again to create this opportunity for a young individual who we hope will go on to have a flourishing and rewarding experience at Birmingham City University.

“Events such as the Young Innovator Prize truly showcase how we can work together to support the next generation of young people who wish to pursue their passion for science, technology and engineering.”

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