Drax and Glasgow Science Centre join forces to deliver innovative hydropower programmes for schools

26/10/2023

DRAX Group (Drax), the renewable energy company, and Glasgow Science Centre have partnered to launch pioneering hydropower education programmes for both primary and secondary schools in Scotland.

Drax Foundation and Glasgow Science Centre have worked together to develop the bespoke programmes that will support schoolchildren to build their STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) skills and inspire them to consider careers in hydropower.

The hydropower sector in Scotland is growing, with plans being developed to expand pumped storage hydro stations including Drax’s Cruachan plant, and it is set to remain a long-term source for careers in renewable energy. 

Sarah Cameron, Community Manager for Scotland at Drax Group, said:

“We are proud to support Glasgow Science Centre and the work they are doing to develop STEM skills among young Scottish people. The learning lab and workshop are pioneering hydropower education programmes that will help students develop their STEM knowledge and hopefully get excited and interested in a career in hydropower.

“We are committed to giving back to our communities, it’s important to us to help children develop the skills, particularly in STEM, that can help solve challenges like climate change and develop and deploy technologies which can further decarbonise our energy system.”

The primary schools programme is run through Glasgow Science Centre’s ‘Learning Lab’ and lasts between four to six weeks. It uses case studies of Drax’s Scottish assets to teach children how different forms of hydropower operate, this includes pumped hydro and run of river plants. It also includes a visit for participating classes to Glasgow Science Centre or a visit to their school from the science centre’s On Tour team.

Students in secondary schools can participate through STEM Futures Work Readiness Workshops. These workshops are for fifth and sixth year pupils and are delivered on site at Glasgow Science Centre. In the training, young people work together to explore the careers available in hydropower in Scotland as well as the skills they would need to develop to access them. 

Dr Stuart Meiklejohn, STEM Futures Project Coordinator, at Glasgow Science Centre, said: 

“This exciting new partnership will deliver invaluable hydro-themed education resources and is the first of its kind in Scotland. Using Glasgow Science Centre’s innovative Learning Lab approach, we will help pupils learn about the importance of, and science involved in, hydro energy in their everyday lives.

“The engaging programmes encompass teacher training to build classroom confidence and hydropower content designed for primary pupils in Scotland, along with opportunities to hear from experts working in the sector. Older pupils will also be able to learn how they can pursue their lifelong relationship with STEM as they are thinking about their future careers.

“We are excited to be working with Drax and look forward to the amazing impact this work will have on the students of Scotland.”

The programmes are fully funded by Drax and there are resources available for 50 primary schools to participate in the Learning Labs as well as 20 workshops for up to 400 secondary school pupils.  Schools can apply for the programmes, which will launch in early 2024, by contacting Glasgow Science Centre via their website: glasgowsciencecentre.org.

The launch of the programmes follow on from Drax’s corporate foundation, Drax Foundation’s, recent funding of EDI bursaries with EngineeringUK which will help support underrepresented young people into engineering careers.  The Foundation is a key part of Drax’s community strategy, which is focused on ensuring that the business delivers a positive impact in the communities where it operates.

Alongside these new programmes Drax offers free educational tours for schools of its Cruachan site in Argyll and Bute. These tours offer insights into what a career in engineering involves, how pumped storage hydro works and how Cruachan supports meeting Net Zero targets.

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