Highlighting how STEM subjects lead to exciting careers
Sofia took advantage of this year's British Science Week (March 10 to 19, 2023) to run a series of STEM-based workshops, assemblies and site tours for Teesside primary students, teenagers from under-served communities, University students and secondary teachers.
Leveraging the week to highlight how STEM subjects can lead into exciting careers in offshore wind, Sofia's team aimed to provide experiences that will leave a lasting impression on the students and teachers alike.
For the younger students, Sofia visited Redcar & Cleveland primary schools to facilitate hands-on learning workshops. They used the primary resources produced for Tees Valley Education Trust with support from Sofia, as well as a supergrid exercise where teams design and build turbine towers and blades before competing to see who has created the most efficient energy generator.
Sofia's primary visits were linked to the local Council's ‘Building our Futures’ programme, namely four schools within the Steel River Primary Trust - Caedmon, Grangetown, Whale Hill and Bankfields. Almost 200 year 4s were involved over two days, with education consultation Rich Hurst guiding them through planning an offshore wind farm cable route using maths and logic, and avoiding marine conservation zones and other constraints.
Sofia's team also worked with St Peters Church of England Primary to host two offshore wind-themed assemblies and run supergrid sessions where students designed wind turbine foundations and blades, and competed against each other to be the cheapest energy supplier via a wireless software system.
Supergrid was also used for secondary and college students during Science Week, when Sofia joined with non-profit organisation the Talent Foundry as part of their Powering Potential programme for young people from under-served communities. Sofia delivered three half-day hands-on sessions of the wind energy based business game during the programme.
The sessions aligned with the overall Talent Foundry aims including the desire to increase awareness of valuable opportunities available in the Tees Valley and highlight career pathways for 16 to 18 year olds who may not be afforded the opportunities of others.
Sofia's Science Week activity continued with a working session for Teesside University foundation engineering degree students who are in the midst of a Sofia-set challenge to design new and innovative ways to inspect turbine blades. Education consultation Mike Cargill met face-to-face with students to review and advise on their progress.
And finally a small group of local secondary school teachers, all taking part in Sofia’s Champions for Wind curriculum-linked careers education programme, visited Sofia's onshore converter station site to see the project first-hand. Site manager Matthew Archer gave the teachers an update on the construction work as well as a guided tour of the Wilton site to see how the converter station is progressing.
For Sofia, the Science Week engagement was all about using the present to plant seeds in minds about the huge range of opportunities in the sector, hopefully sparking an interest that leads to new offshore wind workers in the future.
Sofia's site manager Matthew Archer (left) shows the new teacher 'champions' the works progress at the onshore converter station. Teachers are: Jamie Norton (Mo Mowlam Academy), Jessie Baguley (Redcar and Cleveland College) and Mike Fairbairn (Egglescliffe School).
These photos and header: Sofia's supergrid sessions, making up part of the Talent Foundry's Powering Potential programme in Tees Valley.
St Peters primary school students taking part in Sofia's supergrid session