5 Feb 15

EDF Energy inspires girls to choose engineering – as new research shows change needs to happen

Pupils from Alde Valley Academy and Sir John Leman High Schools in Suffolk have taken part in a pilot workshop at Sizewell B power station designed to encourage more females into science and engineering roles.

The Year 10 and 11 pupils took part in the workshop to gain a better understanding of the range of jobs on offer for students with good qualifications in Science Technology and Maths (STEM) subjects.

The pilot was launched as new research into women in engineering is released. The report, ‘Igniting change: building the pipeline of female leaders in energy’ found that that 5% of executive board seats are currently held by women while 61% of leadership boards have no women present at all.

EDF Energy believes that a diverse and inclusive workforce is critical to the performance of the business. In an industry which remains dominated by men, EDF Energy’s work to encourage more women into scientific, technical and leadership roles is showing progress.

Women employed in the UK business represent 32% of all employees with 26% of management being women, and 10% female senior leaders. So there is still a way to go in ensuring greater gender balance at the top although the UK business met EDF Group’s global target of 30% of women in the talent pipeline for 2014.

Sizewell B is highlighted in the national report as an example of setting a good practise by launching primary school visits to the power station and showing girls the range of roles science and engineering can lead to.

During the workshop held at Sizewell B the pupils were set a task to challenge their maths and engineering skills. The pupils worked together in teams to design and build a structure that could hold a weight. They were able to ‘buy’ simple products such as paper, tape and scissors to assist with the project. Female apprentices and technicians from Sizewell B were also on hand to support the pupils.

Teresa Featherstone, a former apprentice and now a qualified Technician at Sizewell B helped with the delivery of the workshop and took part in a Q&A with the students. Teresa said: “I hope I was able to give the pupils an insight into how exciting a career in science and engineering can be. EDF Energy is looking for more females to join the industry and we want to show students that STEM subjects can lead to a really rewarding career.”

Kerri Barker from Alde Valley Academy said:”The students involved have found this very interesting and a thought provoking experience. This workshop has given the girls involved a real understanding into the roles and opportunities that this industry can offer.”

Other schools interested in working with nurturing STEM subjects at school through partnerships with EDF Energy are encouraged to contact the Sizewell B visitor centre at sizewellbtours@edf-energy.com.

A copy of the report can be downloaded at - http://www.pwc.co.uk/oilgas/publications/powerful-women.jhtml

EDF Energy

EDF Energy is one of the UK’s largest energy companies and the largest producer of low-carbon electricity, producing around one-fifth of the nation's electricity from its nuclear power stations, wind farms, coal and gas power stations and combined heat and power plants. The company supplies gas and electricity to 6 million business and residential customer accounts and is the biggest supplier of electricity by volume in Great Britain.

EDF Energy’s safe and secure operation of its eight existing nuclear power stations at sites across the country makes it the UK’s largest generator of low carbon electricity. EDF Energy is also leading the UK's nuclear renaissance and has published plans to build four new nuclear plants, subject to the right investment framework.

These new plants could generate enough low carbon electricity for about 40% of Britain’s homes. They would make an important contribution to the UK’s future needs for clean, secure and affordable energy. The project is already creating business and job opportunities for British companies and workers.

Through Our Better Energy Ambitions, EDF Energy has developed one of the biggest environmental and social programmes of any British energy company.

In 2014 EDF Energy received seven ‘Big Ticks’ in the Business in the Community (BITC) Responsible Business Awards. In 2013 EDF Energy received the Environmental Leadership for Behavioural Change Award in the national Environment and Energy Awards and was highly commended in the first ever pan European Corporate Social Responsibility Awards scheme for its Sustainable Schools programme – the Pod.

EDF Energy is part of EDF Group, one of Europe’s largest power companies. The company employs around 15,000 people at locations across the UK.

To find out more about the UK's energy challenges look at www.edfenergy.com/energyfuture/