Building a relationship with Outwood Academy Bydales

As the closest school to the Sofia landfall, the team have been working with teachers and staff to ensure students are aware of the project on their doorstep, and of the wider benefits and opportunities within offshore wind.

Creating opportunities to get to know the neighbours

With Sofia's landfall construction compound set to be built in the field right next to the school, participating in initiatives with Outwood Academy Bydales is a natural fit for the project.

By developing an ongoing relationship, team members aim to ensure that students from all Year groups understand what is underway at the construction site next-door and learn about role Sofia, and the offshore wind sector as a whole, will play in the UK's net zero ambitions.

Also key is to ensure students know about the more than 100 different job roles in the sector, and hopefully inspire them to an offshore wind career.

Sofia has been engaged with the school since the project's development phase in 2014, but it is only recently that the involvement has become more formal with the appointment of history teacher Gemma Green to the project's Champions for Wind secondary school programme. She joined after visiting the project's archaeology dig at the landfall site with her class of history students, which sparked an interest in both the development and the Champions programme. 

As the Head of History, she is linking the Sofia project into history lessons and is working with other colleagues to share it across geography, science and careers departments.

Through the Champions programme, Rich Hurst, Sofia's local education consultant recently participated in the schools day-long Year 11 Life Programme to raise student awareness about the opportunities available within the offshore wind sector, and more specifically the background and next steps for Sofia. 

Due to the pandemic it has been difficult for pupils to benefit from external visitors so Rich was delighted to be able to support this day organised by Gemma. He ran interactive sessions with more than 250, 15 and 16 year old pupils on the day, raising their awareness of the breadth of current and upcoming opportunities in Teesside for local people across different levels and abilities. Some students said they would like to move into a career in engineering, others are considering business or law, whilst a number were still working out what they wanted to do and were open to new ideas. The breadth of roles in offshore wind paves the way for all types of career paths.

As well as Gemma's involvement, Sofia's supply chain plan manager Graham Wright will become an Enterprise Advisor with the school in 2022, further strengthening the ties. Project team members have already attended careers events with students and their parents, and having Graham as Enterprise Advisor will ensure Sofia is plugged into all opportunities with the school and vice versa, as the project progress through its construction phase.

Rich Hurst taking part in January's Life Programme, engaging with more than 250 Year 11 students.


January 2022