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Students win European innovation award

Friday, 14 July 2023

A team from St. Ninian’s High School has beaten hundreds of thousands of rivals to scoop the prestigious ‘Innovation of the Year’ category at the Junior Achievement Europe awards in Istanbul.

The seven A-level students, known as team ’Mindcore’, developed a ground-breaking mobile app that assists people with visual impairments and offers support to neurodiverse individuals.

The ERA (Easy Reading Assistant) app was developed by James Drummond, Hudson Sayle, Matthew Hughes, Aaron Matthews, Dominik Stawny, and Siddharth Muthu Pandian and includes features such as text customisation, text-to-speech and enhanced reading techniques. It is currently available to download for free.

In addition, the team were also crowned winners of the BNY Mellon Future First Award, which celebrates unique business solutions to pressing global environmental, social or governance challenges.

Minister for Education, Sport and Culture, Julie Edge MHK, said:

‘Their victory is testament to the hard work, dedication, innovation and invaluable support of teachers, mentors and JA Isle of Man. This success highlights the island's innovative spirit and the remarkable creativity of its young people.’

Organised by JA Europe, the European Entrepreneurship Event showcases the ingenuity, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of participating students in front of some of Europe’s leading business partners, entrepreneurs and policymakers. 

Chief Executive of JA IOM, Sue Cook, said:

‘This is a momentous occasion. To see their hard work and dedication being recognised on this stage is an incredible source of pride.’

Last month, Team Apollo from Ballakermeen High School also received international recognition for their own innovative product, which used Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help drivers stay safe.

Chief Minister, Alfred Cannan MHK, said:

‘These recent victories are a remarkable accomplishment for both the students, their schools and the charity. It is incredibly inspiring to witness our students excel on a European stage and their achievements underline our commitment to fostering innovation and entrepreneurial skills among our young people.

‘They should all be extremely proud.’

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