Circular Economy in the Raw Materials Sector

Minerals, metals and other raw materials are crucial for the technologies we rely on every day, from lightbulbs to smartphones to wind turbines. As technology advances, industry demands a higher quantity and wider diversity of these raw materials.

Securing a sustainable supply of raw materials in Europe requires a transition toward a circular economy including reduced waste and improved recycling. In 2022-2023, Skills for the Future students from around Slovenia will work with industry mentors to take on the challenge.

Company Programme 2020-2021

Overall, 464 students from 19 schools participated in the Company Programme in Slovenia in 2020-2021, and registered 85 mini-companies. The teams were supported by 38 teachers and 32 industry mentors.

363 students representing 63 mini-companies applied for the National Company Competition, which was held on 6-7 May 2021. On the first day, a jury conducted interviews with the teams to select them for the competition. The next day, the best mini-companies were awarded the prize during an online event.

The winning teams were:

The first place was won by the student team from the School Centre Celje – Secondary School of Mechanical Engineering, Mechatronics and Media. The students developed a product called POC (polishing organic compound) – a paste made from bovine horns used to polish steel tools. The team adopted circular economy practices by using a material that would otherwise be discarded.

The Kuligram team wanted to motivate travelers to read the emergency instructions when renting accommodation. To do so, they created a game to discover the Wi-Fi password of the accommodation by going through the emergency instructions.

The Izi Technology team designed a more advanced and affordable electric wheelchair. The team used waste materials, which were then upgraded with electrical components.

Slovenia Idea Camp

The Idea Camp in Slovenia was held online on 18 and 19 November 2021, where 138 students and 22 teachers from 17 schools, and 15 industry mentors were present. During the first day, the challenge and methodology were revealed, and expert sessions were held by Mr. Gregor Sakovič from Nova Ljubljanska Banka. The second day was dedicated to creating new business ideas and the business pitch training with Mr. Leon Magdalec, a public performance coach from Nastop plus d.o.o.

Students could choose between two challenges:

  1. How would you create new value by recycling, remanufacturing, or reusing used electrical and electronic appliances or their components and materials?
  2. How would you encourage the servicing, re-use, sharing or use of new ways of selling electrical and electronic appliances to make them more user friendly?

The winning teams presented the following ideas:

The competition was won by the students from the “School Center Ptuj” – School of Economics, Tourism and Agriculture. The team came up with the idea of reusing the cases of old computers to create mailboxes, which would then be decorated with unique paintings.

The second place was awarded to the students from the High School France Miklošič Ljutomer, who came up with the idea of offering a service to remove usable parts from discarded electrical and electronical devices, making it easier to find spare parts on the market.

The third place was also won by a student team from the High School France Miklošič Ljutomer. The students proposed the idea of renting electronic equipment to several local communities.

We Are Looking for Mentors!

Join us and share your knowledge and experience with student teams a few times over the academic year.