Reaching out to Teesside students of all ages as well as teachers
To align to this year’s Science Week (March 10 to 19), Sofia Offshore Wind Farm’s education team has created a series of STEM-focussed activities targeting Teesside primary school students, disadvantaged teenagers, University students and secondary teachers.
The idea is to highlight all the ways that STEM subjects can lead into exciting careers in offshore wind, and also to make sure the young people have memorable and engaging experiences that will spark their imaginations. The 1.4 gigawatt Sofia, 100% owned by RWE, is now under construction, with its onshore infrastructure being built in Teesside and offshore construction set to start later in 2023.
For the younger groups, Sofia will visit a number of Redcar & Cleveland primary schools to facilitate some hands-on learning where Year 4 students will be tasked with using maths and logic to plan an offshore cable route, avoiding marine conservation zones and other constraints.
The schools are all taking part in Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council’s ‘Building our Futures’ programme and include four from the Steel River Primary Trust (Caedmon, Grangetown, Whale Hill and Bankfields), totalling more than 180 students over two days. Sofia will also visit St Peters Church of England Primary to host two offshore wind-themed assemblies for a total of around 300 students aged from four to 11.
Sofia has also partnered with non-profit organisation the Talent Foundry to deliver three half-day ‘supergrid’ hands-on wind energy based business game sessions to young people taking part in their ‘Skills for Life’ programme.
Talent Foundry works to improve social mobility by working with young people from underserved backgrounds. This specific programme aims to raise aspirations and help participants see a bright future for themselves in the Teesside area, matching their skills and attributes to growing sectors, such as offshore wind.
Sofia’s communications and stakeholder manager, Sue Vincent said: “Science Week is a great opportunity to engage with students and young people on the topic of offshore wind which is heavily reliant on people with backgrounds in science, technology, engineering, and maths.
“We hope we can at least plants seeds in minds today about the huge range of opportunities, and hopefully it will spark an interest that leads to new offshore wind workers in the future.”
The project’s Science Week continues with a working session for Teesside University foundation engineering degree students who are in the midst of a Sofia-set challenge to design new ways to inspect turbine blades.
And finally a group of local secondary school teachers, all taking part on Sofia’s Champions for Wind curriculum-linked careers education programme, will visit the site where the onshore converter station is being constructed.
Hosted by site manager Matthew Archer, the teachers will see the progress being made on this key piece of electrical infrastructure.
The Science Week initiatives are part of an ongoing programme by the Sofia team to work with schools, universities and education organisations, providing students and young people with targeted and interesting activities that enable them to learn more about the offshore wind sector.