The former Secretary of State for Education visited Drax Power Station – the UK’s largest renewable electricity generator, in North Yorkshire, to hear more about the energy company’s work to improve education and skills within the communities local to its UK operations.
The Social Mobility Pledge is a cross party campaign aimed at encouraging businesses to develop relationships with colleges and schools, to increase access through apprenticeships, work experience and other career enhancing schemes which help to level the playing field and ensure opportunities are created for all.
Justine Greening, Social Mobility Pledge founder, said:
“By removing barriers to STEM learning and opening up employment opportunities within the energy industry, Drax is giving young people the skills needed to forge successful careers in a sector which has an important role to play in the transition to a net zero economy.”
During her time in North Yorkshire, Justine Greening visited Selby College – one of Drax’s educational partners – and Drax Power Station, where she met post-graduate students from Staffordshire University who were visiting to see how it has become Europe’s largest decarbonisation project by converting two thirds of its generating units to use biomass instead of coal.
Drax recently announced plans to become a carbon negative company by using innovative bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) technology. Negative emissions technologies like BECCS are critical to the UK to achieve its net zero carbon targets whilst also creating new jobs and opportunities for clean growth.
Andy Koss, Drax CEO Generation, said:
“Companies like Drax are developing and innovating using new technologies which will help to combat the climate crisis. It’s important that communities are not left behind during the transition to a more sustainable future – making sure people have the right skills is a key part of that.
“At Drax we work with schools and colleges to provide exciting activities and experiences which help to boost education, inspiring students by giving them access to new technologies from within the energy sector, like electric vehicles, which provides invaluable experience.”
In 2019, Drax worked with schools and colleges in the Selby area, to encourage more people to study Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects by providing them each with an EV kit car for students to build and race.
Liz Ridley, Deputy Principal, Selby College said:
“Our students have got involved in some incredible projects with Drax, such as building and then racing their own electric vehicle.
“Having the chance to work with such experienced and skilled engineers from Drax on an exciting project like that, was inspiring – it opened the students’ eyes to new possibilities and gave them some of the skills they’ll need in the future to grasp the opportunities which come their way. We’re looking forward to repeating the project again with more of our students this year.”
Drax has a significant network of partnerships with schools and colleges across its operations which encourages access to STEM learning. It also provides work experience opportunities, apprenticeships and graduate recruitment schemes.
Through its commitment to the Social Mobility Pledge, Drax will publish a report later this year about its performance in delivering a positive social impact, which will be used as an example of best practice in the energy industry.
Top image: Justine Greening sitting in an electric vehicle next to Liz Ridley, built by Selby College students through a partnership with Drax.
- The Social Mobility Pledge commits Drax to further develop its partnerships, widen access to the energy industry and ensure recruitment is conducted on a level playing field for people from all backgrounds.
- Drax already has a significant social outreach through partnerships with schools and colleges, apprenticeship schemes and free educational tours for thousands of young people at both Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire and Cruachan Power Station in Scotland.
- Drax is working towards becoming a carbon negative company by 2030, and was the world’s first company to announce such an ambition last year.
Drax Group’s purpose is to enable a zero carbon, lower cost energy future. Its 2,900-strong employees operate across three principal areas of activity – electricity generation, electricity sales to business customers and compressed wood pellet production.
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.
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.
Drax owns two B2B energy supply businesses:
- Haven Power, based in Ipswich, supplies electricity and energy services to large Industrial and Commercial sector businesses.
- Opus Energy, based in Oxford, Northampton and Cardiff, provides electricity, energy services and gas to small and medium sized (SME) businesses.
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/uk