Drax pledge to lead the energy industry on social mobility
DRAX Group has pledged to champion social mobility and raise aspirations within its communities during a visit to the energy company from the founder of the Social Mobility Pledge campaign group – Justine Greening.
The former Secretary of State for Education visited Drax Power Station – the UK’s largest renewable electricity generator, in North Yorkshire, to hear more about the energy company’s work to improve education and skills within the communities local to its UK operations.
The Social Mobility Pledge is a cross party campaign aimed at encouraging businesses to develop relationships with colleges and schools, to increase access through apprenticeships, work experience and other career enhancing schemes which help to level the playing field and ensure opportunities are created for all.
Justine Greening, Social Mobility Pledge founder, said: “By removing barriers to STEM learning and opening up employment opportunities within the energy industry, Drax is giving young people the skills needed to forge successful careers in a sector which has an important role to play in the transition to a net zero economy.”
During her time in North Yorkshire, Justine Greening visited Selby College – one of Drax’s educational partners – and Drax Power Station, where she met post-graduate students from Staffordshire University who were visiting to see how it has become Europe’s largest decarbonisation project by converting two thirds of its generating units to use biomass instead of coal.
Drax recently announced plans to become a carbon negative company by using innovative bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) technology. Negative emissions technologies like BECCS are critical to the UK to achieve its net zero carbon targets whilst also creating new jobs and opportunities for clean growth.
Andy Koss, Drax CEO Generation, said: “Companies like Drax are developing and innovating using new technologies which will help to combat the climate crisis. It’s important that communities are not left behind during the transition to a more sustainable future – making sure people have the right skills is a key part of that.
“At Drax we work with schools and colleges to provide exciting activities and experiences which help to boost education, inspiring students by giving them access to new technologies from within the energy sector, like electric vehicles, which provides invaluable experience.”
In 2019, Drax worked with schools and colleges in the Selby area, to encourage more people to study Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects by providing them each with an EV kit car for students to build and race.
Liz Ridley, Deputy Principal, Selby College said: “Our students have got involved in some incredible projects with Drax, such as building and then racing their own electric vehicle.
“Having the chance to work with such experienced and skilled engineers from Drax on an exciting project like that, was inspiring – it opened the students’ eyes to new possibilities and gave them some of the skills they’ll need in the future to grasp the opportunities which come their way. We’re looking forward to repeating the project again with more of our students this year.”
Drax has a significant network of partnerships with schools and colleges across its operations which encourages access to STEM learning. It also provides work experience opportunities, apprenticeships and graduate recruitment schemes.
Through its commitment to the Social Mobility Pledge, Drax will publish a report later this year about its performance in delivering a positive social impact, which will be used as an example of best practice in the energy industry.