21 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 designed to assist people with visual impairments and offer 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 functionality and enhanced reading techniques. It is currently available to download for free and is set to make a positive impact on the lives of many.

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.’

The European Entrepreneurship Event, organized by JA Europe, provided an ideal platform for the participating students to showcase their ingenuity, creativity, and entrepreneurial spirit in front of leading business partners, entrepreneurs, and policymakers from across Europe.

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.’

In a separate recognition, Team Apollo from Ballakermeen High School also gained international acclaim for their own innovative product, which cleverly utilises Artificial Intelligence (AI) to enhance driver safety.

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.’