Energising visit to power station for students

A group of 12 young people charged up their knowledge of energy with a visit designed to spark interest in science and engineering careers at Centrica last week.

Skills Aid Plymouth (SAP) students were treated to a tour of the power station based at Langage Science Park in Plympton for a lesson in sustainable energy using pedal power to help generate interest in science and take learning out of the classroom with the help of their one-to-one mentors.

SAP is a joint project between Plymouth City Council and Plymouth’s Rotary Clubs, who have provided the majority of the volunteer mentors working on the scheme. It is designed to help pupils understand and gain important employability skills which will improve their chances in an increasingly competitive job market and broaden their career options.

Each young person has been assigned a personal mentor who will accompany them on a series of twelve business led visits hosted by local organisations. The first group of mentors, who have been recruited on a voluntary basis from across the city, completed their training earlier this year.

Jo McCaren, Education Advisor, Centrica Langage said: “Centrica Langage were pleased to take the lead for the third Skills Aid Plymouth (SAP) event for young people, and to host it inside the ‘Discovery Centre’ at Langage Energy Centre.

“In collaboration with the Council, we devised an exciting programme of activities, designed to enhance young peoples’ understanding of Careers linked to Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) in the Energy Industry.

“The day also included a tour of the power station (Energy Centre) and the opportunity to meet the Langage Team who are responsible for energy production on site. Other multimedia activities in the Discovery Centre focussed on saving energy, and ‘pedal power’, as well as some practical, hands-on activities – from designing electrical circuits to a problem-solving team challenge – which challenged the young people and their mentors to construct geodesic dome shelters.

“All the activities were designed to be challenging, yet fun and aimed to introduce the young people to the World of Work – as well as flagging up engineering as a possible career option.

“Our hope for the future is that seeing ‘first-hand’, the role of science and technology in our energy industry, will have a positive impact on the young people and their curriculum-based learning in school, and ultimately their future career choices.”

Initially the SAP scheme involves three city-schools including All Saints Church of England Academy Plymouth, Marine Academy Plymouth and Sir John Hunt.Community Sports College. Young people likely to benefit most from the scheme had their names put forward by their school.

Judith Harwood, Assistant Director for Education, Learning and Families, said: “This was a great opportunity for young people involved with Skills Aid Plymouth to learn more about the science behind energy production. An inspirational learning environment can make the difference between a lesson learnt or a lesson forgotten. We thank Centrica for hosting the visit for both pupils and mentors.”

To kick off the SAP scheme, the first group of 12 and 13 year olds met with their new mentors at a launch event in March at Plymouth Argyle. This was followed by a visit to the National Marine Aquarium.

The next Business-led will visit will be on 19 June at Babcock International.