Pupils learned the alarming facts when they attended a conference designed to make them think about the energy choices they will have to make in the future.
Year 9 and 10 students from five Trust for Learning Schools in the Redcar and Guisborough areas attended the Future Generation event at Redcar & Cleveland College, organised by the Trust 4 Learning partnership.A number of major employers and new technology specialists from across the region’s power generation sector gave an overview of the UK’s future energy needs, the choices to be made and technical challenges.
Pupils then had to discuss the issues facing Britain as they prepare for a debating competition later this year in which they will discuss the energy options available.
Tony Hobbs, Chief Executive of the trust, said: “We want to make pupils aware of the issues facing us with regards to the UK’s energy needs, while also informing them of the burgeoning number of career opportunities out there relating to the STEM subjects.
“It’s important they understand the variety of technologies that are used to make electricity, the challenges that must be overcome and the technical skills required. We want our young people to learn about the career opportunities available, so they can begin to prepare for them now.”
Sembcorp Utilities UK, Parsons Brinckerhoff, EDF Energy, Northumbria University, DeepOcean and Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Co-operative Ltd were among the power generation companies at the event. Mike Cargill, Project Manager of the Champions for Wind curriculum project was also present.
Dave Thompson, Plant Manager at Sembcorp Utilities UK, said: “We were really keen to get involved because we need to attract engineers to the industry, so this was a great opportunity for us to inspire young people and give them ambition.”
Student Sophy Stonehouse, 15, from Rye Hills School, said she found the event helpful.
She said: “I was very interested to hear about the different ways to generate energy, but it was quite worrying to hear that we must take action now to ensure stable supplies of energy for the future. However, the most positive message from the conference was the availability of good, local career opportunities for young people in this area.”
College Principal Gary Groom said the college was proud to be a member of the Trust 4 Learning group, which also includes Bydales, Sacred Heart, Rye Hills, Kirkleatham Hall and Laurence Jackson schools, Redcar Academy, Zetland, Castleton and Glaisdale primary schools and Prior Pursglove College.
One of the trust’s aims is to inspire pupils to work towards rewarding careers through a variety of further and higher education programmes and Apprenticeships.
Gary said: “The energy sector is a growing industry and is a major employer in the north east. We only need to look to the development of the Teesside Offshore Windfarm and the plans for a new energy to waste plant on the Wilton site, both of which are on our doorstep, to see that there are numerous and very real career opportunities for our young people.
“We hope the event has given students some insight and a desire to work in the energy field, along with the ability to recognise the learning pathways available to take them forwards into such exciting careers.”
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Principal: Mrs Angela Sweeten
Redcar Academy, Kirkleatham Lane, Redcar, TS10 4AB
Tel: 01642 289211 •
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