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Students complete virtual work placement at Drax

Wednesday 21 April 2021

Seven students from Selby College took part in a virtual work placement with Britain’s biggest power station, Drax – enabling them to explore the different sectors within the business.

As part of the scheme, students were able to get a taste of what the world of work looks like whilst developing their general employability skills such as communication, networking and time management.

The students took part in projects, presentations and workshops to learn more about their chosen business area, which included Finance, IT & Project Management, Business Support and Engineering.

Drax Virtual Work Experience

Drax Group’s Head of Sustainable Business, Vicky Bullivant, said: “We work closely with schools in our communities to inspire children from all backgrounds to study STEM subjects, so the next generation has the education and skills needed to support businesses like ours as we continue to develop and grow. With students unable to visit our sites during the Covid crisis, it’s essential they don’t miss out on the opportunities businesses like Drax would usually provide.”

Lauren Shirley, Year 2 A Level Business Studies student, Ellis Wattam, Year 1 Extended Diploma in IT student and Matthew Panks, Year 1 A Level Computing student, completed the IT and Project Management placement, where they learned about different equipment and infrastructures and how to ensure they operate efficiently, from maintenance to configuration and working with databases.

Ellis said: “As part of the work placement, we were set a mixture of tasks throughout the week including both project work and team work. The placement allowed me to strengthen my team building skills, as well as refine my CV writing skills and interview techniques. It also expanded my knowledge of the different types of careers which are available in the IT sector.”

Taking part in the Business Support placement, Year 1 A Level Business Studies student Abi Hayward and Year 1 A Level Computing student Daniel Agar found out more about Haven Power and Opus Energy, Drax’s B2B energy supply businesses, and how they support their customers’ needs and deal with their enquiries effectively.

Scott Matthews, who is currently studying an Extended Diploma in Engineering Technologies, also saw first-hand how as the UK’s largest single site renewable power generator, Drax provides 11% of the country’s renewable electricity, enough to power four million homes, through the Engineering placement.

Connor Rowland - who is also in his first year of studying an Extended Diploma in Engineering Technologies at the College - successfully completed a virtual work placement within Drax’s Finance Department, where he learned about forecasting, tax and payroll, pricing, market analysis and trading.

The scheme took place virtually during the student’s Easter break from College and was split into general and business area-specific days, with a variety of group and individual activities to challenge the students and prepare them for their own career journeys.

Rebecca James, Work Placement Coordinator at Selby College, said: “I’m extremely grateful and pleased that leading employers such as Drax opened their doors up virtually to our students, so they can still seize invaluable work experience opportunities despite the pandemic. Our students thoroughly enjoyed their time with Drax and were able to gain valuable insight, knowledge and skills from the experience, which will help form their future career aspirations and aid them in becoming young professionals.”

Following the Covid-19 pandemic, Drax has been offering virtual work placements to students across the country as part of its continued support for STEM education.

Drax owns and operates a portfolio of renewable electricity generation assets in England and Scotland including the UK’s largest power station, based at Selby, North Yorkshire. As well as producing its own sustainable biomass, Drax is also a leading supplier of renewable energy to industrial and business customers through its B2B brands Opus Energy & Haven Power.

To find out more about Drax, please visit: https://www.drax.com/