Sofia Champions for Wind - now in its third cohort

The Sofia Champions for Wind continues to work with Teesside teachers and careers leads to integrate offshore wind and its job opportunities into the school curriculum.

Raising awareness and aspirations for secondary students

A total of 22 teachers and careers leads from 11 Teesside secondary schools have so far taken part in Sofia's Champions for Wind careers education programme which is now in its third year.

The third cohort of teachers joined the programme earlier in 2023 and is now well underway with their classroom initiatives which aim to both educate about offshore wind but also raise careers awareness and aspirations for local young people aged between 11 and 18.

The programme is overseen by education professionals Mike Cargill and Rich Hurst who work closely with the teachers to provide them with training and support sessions, ensure they have access to the most up-to-date offshore wind resources and also facilitate visits to the project's onshore converter station construction site near Wilton International.

This year Sofia welcomes teachers and careers leads:

  • Mike Fairbairn with support from Kathryn Smith (Egglescliffe School) who are working with Professor Simon Hogg from Durham University and a team of engineers to design and build a functioning mini wind turbine as part of an after school programme.
  • Hannah Hughes (Outwood Academy Bydales) has a Geography focus – exploring renewables and incorporating decision making into her initiative. Later in 2023 the school will host a trust-wide careers event with a strong focus on offshore wind and its opportunities. This will build on on-going Sofia engagement with the school as it is only around 200 metres away from the project's landfall.
  • Emma Shaw, supported by Jamie Norton (Mo Mowlam Academy), is developing a project for Year 8s which is likely to be hands-on, STEM-related and set in the outdoors. The school has a special focus on the social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs of the students and all pupils have an Educational Care Plan.
  • Andrew Hurst supported by Jonny Lowes (Archway Academy) will develop a wind turbine energy project for the school, linked to their STEM-related activity.
  • Jessie Baguley (Redcar and Cleveland College) will leverage the fact the college is building a new Energy Centre which fits the project perfectly. Jessie aims to explore the whole planning and implementation of a wind farm, highlighting the interdisciplinary nature of the roles plus the soft skills and teamwork required. 

Each year since 2020, Sofia has invited interested teachers to apply for the fully-guided programme where they are supported in the development of tailored curriculum materials in their specialist subject, with a focus on offshore wind and its associated careers.

Feedback from teacher champions who are all or part-way through the programme has confirmed that through involvement in the project, students now have links to the vast array of job opportunities in their region and are showing signs of being inspired to consider STEM careers.

Cohort 3 2022-2024



Champions project

Mike Fairbairn

Supported by Kathryn Smith (Careers Lead)

Egglescliffe School

Business Studies/ STEM

Hannah Hughes

Outwood Academy Bydales


Emma Shaw

supported by Jamie Norton

Mo Mowlam Academy


Andrew Hurst

supported by Jonny Lowes

Archway Academy


Jessie Baguley

Redcar and Cleveland College

Engineering Partnerships


Cohort 2: 2021 - 2023

Lauren Dawson

River Tees Middle

KS3 Maths, English and History

Kelly-Marie Gardner

supported by 

Sarah Walker

NET Freebrough Academy


Craig Wright

Outwood Academy Redcar

RE / History

Josephine Jones

supported by James Hannaway and Joanne Mitchell

Laurence Jackson School


Mike Reid

Redcar and Cleveland College


Cohort 1: 2020 - 2022

Louise Allison

Supported by:

Andrew Hurst 

Archways Educational Service

Careers & Science

Gemma Green

Outwood Academy Bydales


Gary Keeys

Redcar & Cleveland College


Anthony Foster

St Peters Catholic College


Malcolm Robertson 

Sacred Heart Catholic College


May 2023