Press Releases

Vocational students win big with idea to revolutionise drink driving self-regulation

Prague, Czech Republic, 10 June 2015

‘SoberDrive’ from the United Kingdom won the Hyundai Skills for the Future Award. The student team included George Kershaw Houghton, Edward Kershaw Houghton, Callum Coles, Samuel Roberts and Lauren Palmer, and was chosen based on their winning concept of a socially responsible company, helping to reduce drink driving related incidences.

They hope to achieve this by revolutionising self-regulation of drivers and providing an indication to enable individuals to make informed choices. Having identified a large target market, they believe the future scope for their product is limitless with many avenues to be explored, including government involvement.

Callum Coles shared his experience, saying: “The whole Skills for the Future process has been continuously progressive and has kept us challenged the whole time. The feedback from industry experts has been amazing and we can’t thank everyone enough! Hopefully, on the back of this you’ll see a bright future from SoberDrive.”

Thomas A. Schmid, Chief Operating Officer of Hyundai Motor Europe, commented: “Congratulations to SoberDrive for winning in a very tough competition, full of innovative ideas. Through our Skills for the Future programme, we are helping to tackle the skills gap in Europe’s job market, to improve the employability of students in the automotive industry and beyond. We’re proud to support so many talented students with mentoring and insights, to help their studies today and to help shape them into potential business leaders of tomorrow.”

A joint initiative between JA Europe and Hyundai Motor Europe, the Skills for the Future (SFF) seeks to foster greater understanding among Europe’s young vocational students about the skills required for success in today’s fast-changing markets – inspiring a more entrepreneurial generation that can clearly connect their education and future careers.

Since the programme’s start in 2012, it has engaged over 10,000 students, inviting the top national winning teams to compete at the European final for a chance to win the Hyundai Skills for the Future Award. This year, the best 98 students showcased their entrepreneurial skills in Prague on 8-10 June. Mentored and supported by Hyundai volunteers and teachers, students came from 15 countries (Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and the United Kingdom) after winning their national competitions.

This year’s event featured a policy and industry stakeholder roundtable to debate “Closing the skills gap: how to drive innovation and increase Europe’s competitiveness.” Speakers included Petr Cernikovsky (Director for Strategy and European Affairs at the Ministry of Education, Prague Czech Republic), David Martinez(Head of Human Resources & General Affairs at Hyundai Motor Europe), Jiri Havlin (General Manager of Human Resources Department at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Czech), Ivan Hodac (Founder and Member of the Board of Directors of the Aspen Institute Prague), and Alexandros Koronakis (Director of the NewEurope Group). Offering their support, speakers concluded that much is left to be done to address the skills mismatch and Europe’s competitiveness, calling for increased action across the board.

Ivan Hodac, Founder and Member of the Board of Directors of the Aspen Institute Prague, called for higher investment in education and innovation saying, “If we don’t stay globally competitive, the industries will move out.” Offering advice to the students, he added “Don’t be afraid of challenges and changes.”

Enrolled students follow the SFF programme over the course of one school year, where they create and manage their own mini-enterprise. Aimed at increasing automotive sector awareness among students in vocational schools, the programme underlines the importance of scientific and technical skills for future success. Specially trained teachers introduce students to entrepreneurship and the importance of experiential learning. Students are further supported by Hyundai volunteers who offer invaluable insights and expertise – bringing the real-world to the classroom. Through their mini-company experience, students are able to develop their own products and services related to the automotive industry, and follow the full lifecycle of a company – from start to finish.

Caroline Jenner, JA Europe’s CEO said: “Skills for the Future gives vocational students an important opportunity to cultivate crucial competences that they might not otherwise develop in their more technical education. By bringing entrepreneurship, STEM and the automotive industry together, we aim to grow a generation of specially qualified youth – ready for today’s fast-changing markets.”


About JA Europe

JA Europe is Europe’s largest provider of entrepreneurship education programmes, reaching 3.2 million students in 39 countries. JA Europe brings the public and private sectors together to provide young people in primary and secondary schools and early university with high-quality education programmes to teach them about enterprise, entrepreneurship, business and economics in a practical way. The JA Company Programme is recognised by the European Commission Enterprise Directorate General as a ‘Best Practice in Entrepreneurship Education’.

About Hyundai Motor Europe

In 2014, Hyundai Motor Europe achieved registrations of 424.467 units – an increase of 1% compared to 2013. Almost 95% of the vehicles Hyundai sells in the region are designed, engineered and tested in Europe to meet the needs of European customers. And 90% are built at its two local factories in the Czech Republic and Turkey, which have a combined annual capacity of 500.000 units. Hyundai sells cars in 31 European countries across 2.500 outlets.

More information about Hyundai Motor Europe and its products is available at Follow Hyundai Motor Europe on Twitter @HyundaiEurope and Instagram @HyundaiEurope.

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