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The Corporation

Posted: 14/04/16

Winning Abi’s on the right tracks

A university-level student from West Nottinghamshire College is in the running for a national award which includes a cash prize of £25,000 and a bespoke mentoring programme, after presenting her ‘world-changing’ idea to industry movers and shakers.

Abi Wetton is the innovation UK STEM Awards category winner, sponsored by McLaren

Abigayle Wetton, 21, from Mansfield, is currently studying the BA (Hons) in Business and Management at the college and has just returned from London having presented her winning ‘innovation category’ idea to chiefs at Babcock International.

Abi recently entered the Daily Telegraph’s UK STEM Awards 2016 and won the innovation category, sponsored by McLaren, with her ground-breaking idea to improve the health and safety of transport.

She was given the brief of: 'We challenge you to propose solutions to manage potential distractions from new information sources and thought processes in order to maintain or improve transportation safety'.

Now in its third year, the competition, held in association with Babcock International Group, encourages the most talented and ambitious UK science, technology, engineering and mathematics undergraduates to push themselves beyond their degree syllabuses. Entrants have the chance to win a £25,000 cash prize, plus a bespoke mentoring programme.

Her idea to introduce a solar-powered visual alert system for the tramlines has impressed bosses at McLaren – one of the sponsors of the awards. McLaren shortlisted her winning entry earlier this year and she has already secured work experience at the company’s technology headquarters in Woking, Surrey.

On Monday (11 April) Abi represented McLaren and presented her idea in the final round to Babcock International Group. Up against the other four winners in the energy, aerospace, design and build and healthcare categories, she met their CEO Peter Rogers, the industry editor of the Daily Telegraph Alan Tovey, and co-presenter on Channel 4’s Countdown, Rachel Riley – who is a graduate of mathematics herself.

Abi said: “I never imagined that my entry to the STEM awards would get anywhere – it’s surreal.  My idea to introduce a safer visual alert system as opposed to the current sounding of a bell on the trams was well received by McLaren and I was so proud to learn that I’d won the innovation sector and have been offered tailored work experience with them in the future.”

Head of Higher Education and International, Eleanor Taylor, said: “We’re all thrilled that Abi has been able to not only hold her own against some of the top universities in the country, but also to open the door to such great opportunities for her future career.

“We will all be thinking of her on 16 June and wishing her every success.

Abi will learn if she’s the ultimate winner of the UK STEM Awards on 16 June when she attends the UK STEM Awards gala dinner at the Heron Tower in London.