Virtual work experience launched at Britain’s biggest power station

To ensure school pupils don’t miss out on valuable experience of the world of work during the Covid-19 crisis, Drax Group has teamed up with Oak National Academy to provide virtual work insight to students during a special careers week event starting today (June 8, 2020).

  • Drax Power Station, in North Yorkshire, will offer virtual insight into the world of work as part of Drax Group’s continued support for STEM education.
  • Free online content hosted on Oak National Academy and developed by education experts.
  • Young people able to gain insight into working in the energy sector and other key industries.

Drax Power Station, near Selby in North Yorkshire, is Britain’s biggest power station and usually welcomes dozens of school pupils as part of work experience programmes throughout the year. Since the Covid-19 crisis began, Drax has suspended visitor access to the power station to protect employees who are key workers, playing a crucial role in generating the electricity the country needs.

The new initiative follows the launch of virtual tours at the power station. Each year the site plays host to 12,000 visitors, many of whom are students, visiting as part of Drax’s efforts to work with schools and colleges to promote Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) subjects.

The Careers & Enterprise Company and Oak National Academy have worked with Drax Group to create ‘My Week of Work’ which will run from June 8 to 12 and is aimed at inspiring and preparing young people for the world of work.

At a time when young people, schools and businesses face unprecedented challenges, the initiative aims to mobilise some of the country’s leading employers to help.

Drax has invested more than £750,000 to support its customers and local communities during the Covid-19 crisis including donating 853 laptops to 50 schools and colleges across the country, including 412 to 20 schools across Yorkshire, Humberside and Lincolnshire helping to make sure children without access to computers or the internet at home are not left behind in their studies.

Drax Group’s head of sustainable business, Vicky Bullivant, 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.

“With students unable to visit the power station during the Covid-19 crisis it’s essential they don’t miss out on the opportunities businesses like Drax would usually provide.

“The virtual career week builds on the work we’ve already done to provide laptops, free internet access and virtual tours of the power station to ensure no students are left behind during the lockdown.

Schools pupils will gain insight from employees in five key economic sectors: health and social care, creative and digital, engineering and manufacturing, energy and renewables, and construction. They will be asked to investigate what Drax does as a company, what jobs can a young person do at a power station, how marketing works and gain hints and tips around recruitment processes and writing CVs or filling application forms.

The content is designed to be used either with the support of teachers, or by pupils independently. Though designed with year 9 and 10 pupils in mind, the content will be suitable for all secondary school students.

John Yarham, interim Chief Executive of the Careers & Enterprise Company, said:

“The lockdown has helped people realise that schools do so much more than teach the curriculum. That includes helping them to prepare for life after school.

“We know that many schools, colleges, employers and careers guidance professionals are working incredibly hard to keep that support going despite the lockdown. We hope this partnership with Oak National Academy and many of the country’s leading employers can contribute to that amazing effort.”

Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills, Gillian Keegan said:

“It is fantastic to see so many leading businesses virtually opening their doors to young people across the country this week.

“Allowing young people to gain an insight into the workplace, to shape their career goals for the future and to prepare for the world of work is vital. I’d encourage all those who are interested to log on and explore the opportunities on offer”

Matt Hood, Principal of Oak National Academy, said:

“Work experience week is such a fun, important and enriching part of the school year for pupils in secondary school. We wanted to make sure they could still gain valuable insight into the world of work despite lockdown measures.

“We are thrilled to be working with The Careers & Enterprise Company and helping every young person up and down the country to connect with leading employers. We hope ‘My Week of Work’ will provide all young people with valuable life skills, experience and knowledge to take forward so they can lead successful lives after school.”

The Careers & Enterprise Company has also partnered with virtual learning platform Learn Live to host live Q&A sessions for young people with a further 27 leading employers during the week, including names such as Balfour Beatty, the Royal Air Force and HSBC.


Media contacts:

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

Editor’s Notes

The full list of employers taking part in the Oak National Academy initiative includes:

  1. BAE Systems
  2. Bucks NHS Trust
  3. Burberry
  4. Cornwall NHS Trust
  5. Drax Group
  6. DRP Group
  7. EDF
  8. Hi-impact consultancy ltd
  9. Jacobs
  10. Microsoft
  11. Morgan Sindall
  12. The Sovini Group
  13. The Good Care Group
  14. Willmott Dixon

About Oak National Academy

Oak National Academy is an online classroom with high-quality video lessons and resources. It is free to use and has been created by over 80 teachers, with the backing of the Government. It is designed to help schools, parents and pupils balance learning at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

Created at great speed, Oak is constantly expanding its core and extra-curricular offering. More information on Oak National Academy can be found at:

About The Careers & Enterprise Company

The Careers & Enterprise Company is a government backed social enterprise whose mission is to prepare and inspire young people for the fast-changing world of work.

The CEC supports schools and colleges by linking them to employers and helping them deliver world class careers support for all young people. We do this by:

  • Building Networks: Linking schools and colleges to employers and other external careers providers through the Enterprise Adviser Network and Careers Hubs.
  • Supporting Careers Leaders: Providing training and support for Careers Leaders in schools and colleges.
  • Backing the Gatsby Benchmarks: Supporting implementation of a best practice standard for careers support, the Gatsby Benchmarks, with tools and targeted funding.

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.

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.

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