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Selby College and Drax aim to spark students' imaginations

Friday 15 July 2022

Selby College has partnered with renewable energy company Drax to help inspire students to study Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects.

At an event attended by over 170 Year 9 pupils from four different local schools, the pupils had the opportunity to participate in a range of fun, informative and challenging activities provided by Drax, including an Electrical Circuit Problem Solving session.

Through events like these we can engage young people in fun STEM activities, introducing them to future skills, training, and employment opportunities. It’s important for innovative companies like Drax to work with schools and colleges to engage with and inspire the next generation, because they will eventually become our workforce of the future.

Bruce Heppenstall, Drax Plant Director.

A group of Drax’s graduate engineers and analysts delivered an ‘It’s All About Energy’ session where students explored and debated the pros and cons of new energy technologies.

It was great to see everyone enjoying the activities and using their problem-solving and analytical thinking skills. It builds on what they’ve already learnt in their school curriculum and gives them an insight in the wide range of applications for STEM subjects.

Jane Breach, Drax Visitor Centre and Community Engagement team Leader, who organised the activities.

Students also had the opportunity to try out virtual reality headsets, use electromagnetics and have a go at coding in sessions run by Selby College tutors.

They also spent time in the College’s state-of-the-art Institute of Technology laboratory where they were able to see first-hand how an automated manufacturing line works.

Encouraging young people to excel in STEM subjects is high on our agenda, so it’s fantastic that we are able to work with leading employers like Drax to facilitate events such as this. They give students a unique opportunity to further explore STEM subjects and the career options and opportunities which they can open doors too, at a crucial stage in their learning. We hope the students enjoyed the event and left feeling inspired to pursue their progression in STEM areas.

Lorraine Cross, Group Executive Director of External Relations & Development at the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group.

Guest talks were also delivered by Siemens’ Apprentices Kate Rodley and Milly Johnson where they spoke to students about what they do day-to-day in their roles as Level 3 Rail Technician Apprentices.

In March 2022, Selby College officially merged with Wakefield College to form the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group. As part of its School Partnership programme, the Group works with local schools, employers and learning providers to transform learning, raise attainment and achievement and encourage progression across the region.

In 2020, Drax announced a £180,000 five-year partnership with Selby College, aimed at supporting education and skills. Last year, Selby College and Drax secured more than £270,000 of funding from the government to develop the UK’s first educational programmes in carbon capture, enabling the renewable energy company to develop a workforce fit for the future.