Inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers
BUDDING young scientists and engineers took part in a residential workshop at EDF Energy’s Cannington Court training centre.
Some 50 Year Nine students from schools across Somerset spent four days tackling a range of low carbon-themed scientific and construction challenges through the Hinkley Point C Inspire education programme.
They were even able to meet the French Ambassador to the UK Sylvie-Agnès Bermann who was being shown around Cannington Court by EDF Energy’s chief executive Vincent de Rivaz during their stay.
The students faced challenges ranging from designing a water-powered turbine to generate electricity to working together to try and fix a leaking pipe hidden under a sealed box using nothing more than a torch, a spanner and an endoscope.
The pupils came from Bishop Fox’s School in Taunton, Bridgwater College Academy, Chilton Trinity School and Haygrove School both in Bridgwater, Holyrood Academy in Chard, Huish Episcopi Academy, Kingsmead School in Wiveliscombe, Robert Blake Science College in Bridgwater, St Dunstan’s Community School in Glastonbury, The Blue School in Wells, Taunton Academy, Wadham School in Crewkerne and Wellington School.
Since it was launched in 2011, the Inspire programme has made nearly 127,000 connections with the next generation of engineers and scientists.
The programme aims to prepare young people to take advantage of the huge opportunities the Hinkley Point C project will bring by inspiring them to explore the world of science, technology, engineering and mathematics – known as STEM.
Somerset schools were each invited to put forward five students for the residential which was delivered in partnership with STEMworks and Bridgwater College.
The pupils were split into groups, with each group mentored by EDF Energy graduates.
Tom Thayer, EDF Energy’s Secondary Education and Inspire Programme Manager, said: “All the young people who took part had volunteered to be there during their school holidays which showed real commitment on their behalf.
“The UK faces a skills gap so it’s vital for our business and the country that we encourage this kind of interest and enable even more young people to gain hands-on experience of STEM through programmes like Inspire.
“The low carbon residential is particularly effective as our graduates help run the workshops and mentor the students taking part. That means the pupils can meet young people who are already in our company and get some real-life guidance about what we do and the opportunities available to them.”
The students enjoyed a games evening, sports, a low ropes challenge and a visit to both Hinkley Point C during the residential.
The event culminated with an evening presentation and an exhibition of work for parents, guardians and teachers.
Simon Kettle of STEMworks said: “By the end of the residential we want each student to realise that not all jobs with EDF Energy are for engineers – there is a huge breadth of skills needed, including physicists, supply chain, project planners and environmental scientists.
“We make sure they have fun as well as finding their stay educational and it’s a great opportunity for young people to come and meet EDF Energy and see what the company and the world of STEM is all about.
For more information contact:Annelise Cowie
External Communications Manager, Hinkley Point
EDF Energy in the South West
In the South West EDF Energy employs around 4,000 people across three key sites; at Hinkley Point in Somerset, at Barnwood, near Gloucester, and at Exeter. We operate Hinkley Point B power station, which employs around 550 staff and 220 contract partners. A new nuclear power station, capable of supplying around 6 million homes, is under construction at Hinkley Point. We have an operational support centre at Barnwood, while Exeter is home to one of EDF Energy’s three UK-based call centres. As well as currently generating enough power for some 1.5 million homes in this region, EDF Energy also provides gas and electricity to 480,000 customers with over 30% of those opting for one of the company’s Blue+ products backed by low-carbon generation. We make sure we buy enough electricity generated from a low-carbon nuclear source to match every unit of electricity we estimate our Blue customers use. EDF Energy is proud to power some of the largest companies in the UK, including sites for the Ministry of Defence, Tesco Stores Limited, Morrisons and Everything Everywhere, right here in the South West.