Opening young eyes to a renewable future
Melanie Rogers, Local Communications Officer at Vattenfall
07 July 2015
A really rewarding part of my role is working with local schools. Here at Vattenfall, we are really happy to have partnered with The Crown Estate, Canterbury City Council and the P1 Marine Foundation on the Coast Explorer project.
Coast Explorer educates children on the importance of the coastal environment and how renewable energy can be a sustainable part of that.
We are delighted that Coast Explorer has helped us open young people’s eyes to the variety of job opportunities in our sector.”Melanie Rogers of Vattenfall
We now have three years of Coast Explorer sessions under our belts, helping to build up young people’s knowledge and understanding about our coastline, renewable and non-renewable energy sources, and climate change. An incredible 96% of participating students said they understood the importance of offshore wind energy after their trip to our site at Reculver in Kent.
Involving communities is important for Vattenfall at all stages of our projects. From the time we have an interest in a new site, right through its construction and operation, we work with our local communities to ensure they have the opportunity to get involved and realise benefits from hosting a wind energy project. Coast Explorer has proven to be a great way of engaging with our communities in Kent and beyond.
This year, Vattenfall also supplied motor and generator kits to the Coast Explorer students, as we felt it was important that they left the experience with an understanding of how to make electricity by building their own generators, how the wind turbine turns to find the wind (not as obvious as you may think) and how these two things work together. This proved popular with those involved. Joanna Donegan, teacher at Coopers School in Chislehurst explained: “We study wind turbines as part of our physics scheme of work, so to see them working and build our own smaller version was brilliant.”
We are delighted that Coast Explorer has helped us open young people’s eyes to the variety of job opportunities in our sector – from engineers, operatives and technicians, to local communication officers like myself. Haley Vuong, teacher at Hayes Bromley School in Hayes, commented: “It was a great way to promote women in science and engineering.”
It’s wonderful to think that we might have sparked the students’ interest. Who knows which of them we might see working in renewables in the future? Perhaps Sophie from Ramsgate, who said she “really enjoyed learning how to make energy like a wind turbine”; or Riley, who “learnt how to find good and bad places to get a windmill working”; or Caitlin, who “learnt that renewable energy can be made out of different things like wind and water.” With 1,500 children having taken part – the possibilities are exciting!
My favourite recent quote from a female student: “I didn’t know that engineering could be so much fun.” As a company that is serious about encouraging diversity in a traditionally homogeneous sector, this kind of response to our educational projects is music to our ears here at Vattenfall and we’re extremely proud and happy to have been a part of Coast Explorer!
Vattenfall is a Swedish power company, wholly owned by the Swedish government. We are one of Europe's leading generators of electricity and heat, and owners of both Kentish Flats and Thanet Offshore Wind Farms, located off the North Kent coast.