Drax leads the way in ambitious initiative to improve skills for a million people

The publication of Drax’s Opportunity Action Plan is in partnership with the Social Mobility Pledge, led by the former Education Secretary, the Rt Hon Justine Greening.

  • Drax is the first UK energy company to announce an initiative to improve employability for a million people by 2025.
  • Publication of Drax’s Opportunity Action Plan is in partnership with the Social Mobility Pledge, led by the former Education Secretary, the Rt Hon Justine Greening.
  • By pioneering cutting-edge carbon capture technology, Drax could make a major contribution to a post-covid, green economic recovery by creating and protecting thousands of jobs in the North.

Drax is the UK’s first energy company to make a pledge to boost social mobility for a million people by 2025.

It has announced the target as part of its Opportunity Action Plan developed in partnership with the Social Mobility Pledge, led by the Rt Hon Justine Greening.

Through its ‘Mobilising a Million’ initiative, the renewable energy company will connect with one million people by 2025 to improve skills, education, employability and opportunity.

It is one of a pioneering group of UK businesses and universities aiming to set a new and higher standard on boosting social mobility in Britain, with boardroom focus on environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) issues, through the Social Mobility Pledge.

Drax’s new target has been launched as part of its Opportunity Action Plan – the culmination of its work with the Social Mobility Pledge team, which identified Drax as being a trail blazing, purpose-led business.

Drax donated laptops to students to assist learning during the Covid-19 crisis.

Justine Greening, Co-founder of the Social Mobility Pledge, said:

“Achieving true social mobility in Britain and levelling up our country is a huge challenge but one that businesses are rising to.

“Businesses like Drax have a crucial role to play in levelling up, and ensuring that our country’s Net Zero targets and ambitions are not just met, but delivered in a way that creates opportunities and levels up communities like Selby, Ipswich, Northampton and in Scotland where Drax has its operations.

“In publishing this Opportunity Action Plan and marking its ambition to improve skills, education, employability and opportunity for one million people – Drax has demonstrated its commitments to making a positive social impact.”

Drax is a leader in renewable energy, having converted the power station in North Yorkshire to use sustainable biomass instead of coal, transforming the business to become the largest decarbonisation project in Europe and the UK’s biggest single site, renewable power generator.

It plans to go further by using ground-breaking Bioenergy Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) technology to become carbon negative by 2030 – meaning it will be permanently removing more CO2 from the atmosphere than its operations create.

As a founding member of the Zero Carbon Humber bid which aims to use BECCS, hydrogen and other CCS technologies to decarbonise industry across the region, Drax will help to level up the North. Independent analysis published last year by Vivid Economics shows that deploying these new, green energy technologies will create and support around 50,000 jobs, helping to reverse the economic impacts of the Covid crisis.

Clare Harbord, Drax Group Director of Corporate Affairs, said:

“Drax, along with other businesses, has an important part to play in making sure we have a future workforce with the skills to deliver the new technologies needed to decarbonise the economy and meet the UK’s net zero target.

“By boosting education, skills and employability opportunities for a million people, we can start to level the playing field and build a more diverse workforce. This will make the energy sector stronger and able to make a more significant contribution to the UK’s green recovery from Covid.”

The ambitious Mobilising a Million initiative was launched at a virtual event (on Thursday, 14 January 2021) with Justine Greening attended by local politicians and Drax’s education partners to discuss working together to support communities through Covid and beyond.


Media contacts:

Aidan Kerr
Drax Group Media Manager
E: [email protected]
T: 07849090368

Peter Bould
Social Mobility Pledge
E: [email protected]

Editor’s Notes

Drax’s ‘Mobilising a Million’ initiative will include:

  • Holding skills sessions via online media such as Oak Academy, Learn Live and webinars, and resume face-to-face sessions when practicable.
  • Drax will continue our long-standing commitment to support education through site tours and virtual tours, educational outreach programmes, Stone Foundation, Laptops for Learners, and school interactions.
  • The company will support employability by providing targeted support to enable individuals to develop their career through Apprenticeships, Graduate schemes, Internships, and Drax supported college partnerships.
  • The initiative will improve opportunity in targeted schools with high proportions of free school meals, where we will increase positive interactions with a careers or educational focus by providing careers events and support, science fairs, work experience, CV support and women focused events to promote gender balance in the energy industry.

The Social Mobility Pledge was created in 2018 by former Secretary of State for Education, Rt Hon Justine Greening and entrepreneur, David Harrison.

It is a commitment from businesses large and small across Britain to become a Social Mobility Pledge employer, taking the three steps below:

1) Partnering – directly with schools or colleges to provide coaching through quality careers advice, enrichment experience and/or mentoring to people from disadvantaged backgrounds or circumstances.

2) Access – providing structured work experience and/or apprenticeship opportunities to people from disadvantaged backgrounds or circumstances

3) Recruitment – adopting open employee recruitment practices which promote a level playing field for people from disadvantaged backgrounds or circumstances, such as name blind recruitment or contextual recruitment.

To date, over 450 businesses employing five million people, and 50 universities representing over two million students have signed the Social Mobility Pledge.

Business and employers can sign up today to be a Social Mobility employer at www.socialmobilitypledge.org

Vivid Report

Drax commissioned Vivid Economics last year to produce a report into the socio-economic benefits of developing bioenergy with carbon capture and storage BECCS alongside other cutting-edge green technologies in the Humber region.

The independent analysis shows almost 50,000 jobs would be created and supported in the Humber if BECCS, as well as hydrogen and other carbon removal technologies, are deployed to decarbonise industry. With government backing for the proposals, these new jobs could begin to be created as early as 2024, peaking at 49,000 jobs in 2027.

Within the jobs created in the Humber there would be around 25,000 high quality roles in construction – as well as welders, pipe fitters, machine installers and technicians; with a further 24,000 supported across the supply chain and wider economy in 2027.

You can read the full report here.

About Drax

Drax Group’s purpose is to enable a zero carbon, lower cost energy future and in 2019 announced a world-leading ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) technology.

Its 2,900-strong employees operate across three principal areas of activity – electricity generation, electricity sales to business customers and compressed wood pellet production.

Power generation:

Drax owns and operates a portfolio of flexible, low carbon and renewable electricity generation assets across Britain. The assets include the UK’s largest power station, based at Selby, North Yorkshire, which supplies five percent of the country’s electricity needs.

Having converted two thirds of Drax Power Station to use sustainable biomass instead of coal it has become the UK’s biggest renewable power generator and the largest decarbonisation project in Europe. It is also where Drax is piloting the groundbreaking negative emissions technology BECCS within its CCUS (Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage) Incubation Area.

Its pumped storage, hydro and energy from waste assets in Scotland include Cruachan Power Station – a flexible pumped storage facility within the hollowed-out mountain Ben Cruachan.  It also owns and operates four gas power stations in England.


Through its two B2B energy supply brands, Haven Power and Opus Energy, Drax supplies energy to 250,000 businesses across England, Scotland and Wales.

Pellet production:

Drax owns and operates three pellet mills in the US South which manufacture compressed wood pellets (biomass) produced from sustainably managed working forests. These pellet mills supply around 20% of the biomass used by Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire to generate flexible, renewable power for the UK’s homes and businesses.

For more information visit www.drax.com