Called ‘Champions for Wind’ it is an innovative careers education engagement programme designed to raise awareness amongst 13 to 14 year olds of the full range of potential career opportunities in offshore wind energy and give an understanding of the qualifications and experience required to gain employment in the industry.
Being implemented by Hull-based apprenticeship training and careers education specialists HETA, the initial phase of the programme will be to identify a network of approximately 10 secondary and special school teacher “champions” in the Yorkshire area, near to Forewind’s first development, Dogger Bank Creyke Beck.
Dogger Bank Creyke Beck is planned to connect into the national grid at an existing substation at Creyke Beck, near Cottingham in the East Riding of Yorkshire and community consultation about initial proposals for the development is underway.
Once selected each teacher “champion”, working with the careers advisors, will design and develop a curriculum-based resource relevant to their local area and appropriate to their schools on opportunities offered by the offshore wind farm industry. The teachers will deliver their resource to two to three schools each and will receive a bursary to support their work.
Forewind General Manager, Lee Clarke said that if the UK is to meet its offshore wind targets while maximising the economic benefits from manufacture, construction and operation of the Round 3 projects within or from the UK, significant numbers of skilled workers must be developed in key regions.
“By facilitating careers education for young people in the area around Dogger Bank Creyke Beck’s onshore infrastructure, we hope to meet the needs of the local community while also supporting the wind industry by boosting the number of motivated young people entering into it,” Dr Clarke said.
The programme was designed by HETA to meet a number of criteria including: gender balance in science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects as well as careers; roundedness of the industry; pride, a sense of ownership and skills development in the local area; innovation; providing a vision for the future; building on any existing programmes fostering teacher development, and having a robust evaluation methodology.
Director of Educational Programmes at HETA, Mike Cargill, said ‘Champions for Wind’ will be a practical programme with input from Forewind’s owner companies - RWE npower renewables, SSE, Statoil and Statkraft – as well as The Crown Estate and other wind industry experts to ensure the teachers have access to a wide range of resources.
Requests for applications will be distributed over the coming week and interested teachers can also check www.heta.co.uk for details.
The successful “champions” being in place in early January ready for a kick-off seminar in early February. The teachers will have six months to design the programme specific to their students before it is implemented, and rolled out to other schools in the catchment area.