- Drax Group is offering students a virtual insight into the world of work as part of the energy company’s continued commitment to STEM education, supporting its efforts to increase social mobility for one million people.
- The programme, which is running online this week from 16-20 August, has been extended from four to five days and made available to a wider audience.
- After the success of the first virtual work experience week in April, the energy company has decided to run additional events to give even more students the opportunity to take part.
Britain’s biggest power station, near Selby in North Yorkshire, has expanded its virtual work experience programme to offer even more young people insights into the workplace and boost employability and skills.
The energy company first launched virtual work experience as a result of not being able to run its usual on-site work experience programmes due to Covid restrictions, and has decided to continue the programme after receiving a positive response from those who took part.
Engineering student Tahmid Md, who took part in the previous virtual work experience programme, said:
“Work experience at Drax was a great week and I learnt a lot from the programme. The CV building and interview sessions were especially helpful, and I really enjoyed the engineering projects I took part in.”
Drax colleagues have put together a five-day online programme which enables more students to participate from across England, who may previously have found it difficult to take part, due to barriers preventing their attendance, such as geography, opportunity, and economic factors.
The work experience programme is part of Drax’s Mobilising a Million initiative, which aims to increase social mobility by creating opportunities to further education and improve employability, ensuring the country has the skilled workforce needed to support a post-covid, green economic recovery.
Drax Group’s Head of Sustainable Business, Alan Knight, said:
“We work closely with schools in our communities to inspire children from all backgrounds to study STEM subjects, so the next generation has the education and skills needed to support businesses like ours as we continue to develop and grow.
“Virtual Work Experience builds on the work we did during lockdown to provide laptops, free internet access and virtual tours of the power station to ensure no students were left behind in their studies.”
Department of Education Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills, Gillian Keegan said:
“It’s brilliant to see businesses like Drax offering virtual opportunities for young people to learn about and prepare for the world of work.
“As the energy market is changing there are new green jobs opening up for employees. Offering young people the chance to explore these new opportunities in the workplace is vital to shape their career goals, and help them to discover the wide range of choices available for their future.”
Students who applied to take part in Drax’s virtual work experience programme aged 14-18 could choose from four different business streams: Engineering, Business Support, IT & Project Management and Finance. They will learn about the energy company, focusing on developing employability skills and learning about their business area through conversations with employees and targeted projects. They will also have the opportunity to ask members of Drax’s executive committee about their careers during a Q&A session.
This year’s Covid lockdown resulted in many students being home schooled for months, so the Drax virtual work experience programme is taking place during the Summer Holidays, so that participants do not miss any more vital classroom time during the school term.
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Now that Covid restrictions have eased, Drax intends to resume its usual work experience programme on site, but it will continue to host a virtual programme online as well.
Drax announced its Mobilising a Million initiative earlier this year, when it published its Opportunity Action Plan in partnership with the Social Mobility Pledge led by former Education Secretary, the Rt Hon Justine Greening.
Drax is committed to supporting the communities local to its operations. It has invested more than £840,000 to support its customers and local communities during the Covid-19 crisis including donating over 1,200 laptops to schools and colleges across the country, helping to make sure children without access to computers or the internet at home, were not left behind in their studies during the Covid crisis.
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 3,400 employees operate across three principal areas of activity – electricity generation, electricity sales to business customers and compressed wood pellet production and supply to third parties.
Drax owns and operates a portfolio of renewable electricity generation assets in England and Scotland. 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 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.
Pellet production and supply:
Drax owns and has interests in 17 pellet mills in the US South and Western Canada which have the capacity to manufacture 4.9 million tonnes of compressed wood pellets (biomass) a year. The pellets are produced using materials sourced from sustainably managed working forests and are supplied to third party customers in Europe and Asia for the generation of renewable power.
Drax’s pellet mills supply around 30% of the biomass used at its own power station in North Yorkshire, England to generate flexible, renewable power for the UK’s homes and businesses.
Through its two B2B energy supply brands, Haven Power and Opus Energy, Drax supplies energy to 250,000 businesses across Britain.
For more information visit www.drax.com/uk