Teams of third year pupils from nine schools across West Lothian honed their design, engineering and creative skills in this year’s ‘Pump It Up’ Challenge – a joint venture between Mitsubishi Electric Air Conditioning System Europe (M-ACE) and the West Lothian Chamber of Commerce, where participants research and develop the innovative use of a heat source pump.

Now in its fourth year, the aim of the initiative is to further integrate industry and schools with the aim to support young people in developing skills beneficial to their future career choice.

More than 1300 pupils from the schools initially competed for a spot in the final of ‘Pump It Up’ held at Howden Park Centre in Livingston. Each team tasked with creating a future use idea for an energy efficient heat pump design primarily used for domestic heating and hot water.

After a series of preliminary rounds, the competition was whittled down to a final, featuring one team from each school, with Whitburn Academy winning the ‘Competency’ Award, St Kentigern’s High School, Blackburn, picking up the ‘Design & Innovation’ award and the ‘Green Energy’ plaudit going to James Young High School in Livingston.

Mr Yoshiro Sumida, President and CEO of Mitsubishi Electric air conditioning systems Europe Ltd commented that, “The team work, learning and skills needed to decide on the future use of an air source heat pump will support the young people in their future move into the world of work and a design and development engineer was extremely impressed with the ideas generated by all the schools”.

Linda Scott, Chief Executive of West Lothian Chamber of Commerce, commented;

“The aim of ‘Pump It Up’ is to support young people in creating skills required for their future development. There are innumerable benefits for a young person taking part in an industry-led competition like this one.

These are derived from the experience of team-work, leadership, planning and strategy skills – all the ingredients they will need to take forward into the work place.”

Rodney Ayre, Senior Department Manager, Mitsubishi Electric Air Conditioning Systems Europe Ltd is delighted to maintain support for the ‘Pump It Up’ competition. He comments;

“’Pump It Up’ empowers these young people to apply their STEM knowledge and skills enhancing their learning experience within the engineering environment. It’s crucial that we continue to support the skills and ingenuity which will drive the industry forward for decades to come.”

At the final pupils pitched their heat pump ideas to a special panel of judges, including Mr Daisuke Matsunaga, Consul General of Japan in Edinburgh and Mr Yoshihiro Sumida, President of Mitsubishi Electric Air Conditioning Systems Europe and other senior representatives from the public and private sector, who collectively decided on the three category winners of this year’s competition.

Livingston MSP Angela Constance, the Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities, also spoke to guests at the end of the final.

She told the gathered pupils, parents and invited dignitaries; “I am extremely proud of these young people who have shown such impressive innovation and ideas. I urge these pupils to keep holding on to their good ideas as in the future I am sure they will all be successes and continue to make us proud.”

West Lothian Chamber of Commerce continues to play a pivotal role in supporting the future employment for young people through partnerships with business and education across the region.