26 May 15

Taunton pupils energised on low-carbon course

Students from Taunton put high levels of energy into a ‘low carbon’ course recently – as part of four-day educational trip sponsored by EDF Energy.  


Thirty-five year nine pupils from across the county visited Exeter University where they learnt about the UK’s energy industry and potential career opportunities, during a mixture of practical activities and talks from experts.


The course, delivered by the Smallpeice Trust which promotes careers in engineering, forms part of EDF Energy’s Inspire education programme in Somerset which aims to stimulate local pupils’ interest in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).


Recent graduates who now work at EDF Energy delivered workshops to aid pupils’ understanding – which included manufacturing mini hydroelectric turbines and pipe-work to safely transfer water – as well as talks on topics like the UK’s current energy mix.


The pupils also received a surprise visit from Lauren Steadman, Paralympic Swimmer and London 2012 athlete, who joined in with the activities and gave a talk on her experiences of making career decisions and setting goals.


Tom Thayer, Inspire Education Programme Advisor at EDF Energy said: “This was a great way for pupils to spend an extended amount of time learning about low-carbon energy, think about careers options, as well as meet students from other schools in the county.”


Dr Kevin Stenson, Chief Executive of The Smallpeice Trust said: “We are delighted to be partnering with EDF Energy to run this residential course for the fourth year. Engineers are vital for this sector as the fossil fuels that we all take for granted aren’t going to last forever. This is a very exciting time to be getting into energy and we hope that this course will inspire more young people to consider it as a future career.”


Daniel Childerley, Head of Design & Technology, Heathfield Community School said: “This is a great opportunity for our students. The event is always a success being well run and supported by EDF Energy graduates. I will definitely be sending students again next year, as those who have attended have come back more enthused than ever and are seriously considering careers in STEM industries.”


Lauren Steadman, Paralympic athlete, said: “It was fantastic to attend and meet with the young people. I was thoroughly impressed by the activities on offer and the super engagement of the students. As an athlete and a graduate, I know how crucial it is to make the right career decisions at the right time.”


As well as lots of learning, students enjoyed a social programme featuring a film night, sports activities and a formal dinner and disco.

For more information contact:

EDF Energy Media
Media Relations Team
01452 652233

Notes to editors

Schools that took part:

Heathfield School, Haygrove School, Kings of Wessex Academy, Chilton Trinity Technology School, Bishop Fox’s, West Somerset College, The Blue School, Robert Blake Science School

About The Smallpeice Trust

The Smallpeice Trust is an independent charitable trust which promotes engineering as a career, primarily through the provision of residential courses for young people aged 12 to 18.


The Smallpeice Trust was founded in 1966 by Dr Cosby Smallpeice, a pioneering engineer and inventor of the Smallpeice Lathe. Following the stock market flotation of his company Martonair, Dr Smallpeice invested his energy and part of his personal fortune to set up the Trust to ensure that British industry could continuously benefit from his proven design and engineering philosophies: “Simplicity in design, economy in production.”


The Trust is now governed by an eminent board of non-executive trustees and members from a diverse range of engineering, industry, educational and professional bodies.


Over the past year, The Smallpeice Trust has engaged with 17,495 young people through 35 different subsidised residential courses, in-school STEM Days and starting up STEM Clubs. More emphasis has been put on programmes physically delivered by The Smallpeice Trust. The Smallpeice Trust has also trained 1,280 teachers to enhance their delivery of STEM in the classroom.


A strong interface is maintained with industry, education and professional bodies that help to support, promote and develop the courses. Through these relationships the Trust is also able to provide a number of tailored or specialised courses.

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 5 million homes, is planned at Hinkley Point, subject to a final investment decision. 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 610,000 customers with over 20% 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.