Joanna Crane, UTCN student

Young star of Swedish energy group film inspires future generation into offshore wind

Schools and colleges in the east of England will soon receive an inspirational film commissioned by Swedish energy group Vattenfall to encourage young people to think about careers in renewable energy.

Schools and colleges in the east of England will soon receive an inspirational film commissioned by Swedish energy group Vattenfall to encourage young people to think about careers in renewable energy.

Joanna’s Story, follows Joanna Crane, head girl of the University Technical College Norfolk (UTCN), as she discovers career opportunities in offshore wind.

In the film, made by Norwich film makers Heist, A level student Joanna Crane explains the benefits of studying STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects, and how she had swapped her higher education plans from finance to engineering, exploring a career in offshore wind.

Joanna Crane is an 18 year old student at UTCN in Norwich. She first met the Vattenfall team when she participated in a wind energy skills and education programme linked to the Norfolk Vanguard and Norfolk Boreas offshore wind farm projects.

The east of England is the epicentre of the UK's offshore wind industry.

Vattenfall, which plans to invest billions of pounds in its Norfolk Vanguard and Norfolk Boreas offshore wind farms off the Norfolk coast, wants the film to help illustrate the range of career options in offshore wind and encourage more students to be part of the drive to decarbonise the energy industry.

Sue Falch-Lovesey, Vattenfall Local Liaison Officer and Skills Champion, said:

“The Offshore Wind Sector Deal aims to double the number of women working within the industry by 2030 and outlines that the UK needs an extra 40,000 engineers a year. Currently only 12% of engineers are women. If this film can raise awareness of the industry in an area that is currently leading the way in offshore wind and give young people new direction, it has achieved our aim.

“Joanna’s story can really connect with other young people who might not be aware of the offshore wind industry and the many roles within it.”

Joanna had planned a career in accountancy, but her interest in environmental  and engineering matters led her to explore other routes.

When she started to work with Vattenfall, she discovered more ideas and opportunities.

Joanna said:

“It has completely changed my outlook, I can combine ambition and a career pathway that feels personally rewarding as I can also be part of something bigger.

“Vattenfall and UTCN have encouraged, supported and inspired me to broaden horizons and to pursue a career that feels like it makes a difference and it was such an honour to be asked to be the subject of the film.”

Joanna, from Thorpe St Andrew, was part of a four-strong team of UTCN students who travelled to the Netherlands last year to deliver wind energy and skills education programmes they had led across Norfolk.

Using trailblazing 3D and virtual reality software, they work with other young people to design their own wind farm, to boost understanding of offshore wind and a fossil fuel-free world.

As the film was released, Joanna, was studying for her A Levels and learned she had won a place at Cambridge University to study engineering. Like thousands of students missing their exams, she faces a future on hold because of Covid-19. She is also investigating degree apprenticeships.

Heist Films is run by Justin Hunt and Nathan Whitmarsh.

Justin Hunt said:

“Our aim as film makers was to capture the essence of Joanna’s imagination and illustrate how her beliefs about the environment and her education and her academic strengths had found a coherent purpose through her interaction with Vattenfall.

"The chosen locations included our beautiful Norfolk landscape, bringing her very clear message visually alive and telling her own story of switching career ideas at her Norfolk college based on a fast-growing industry off her coastline.”

Mrs Falch-Lovesey said Joanna’s story illustrated the importance of  industry to support students on their career journey.

The film would now be sent to primary and secondary schools, sixth form and further education colleges, she said.
‘To all those facing an unexpected ending to their current educational year, the message is, there are exciting roles in the world of work, and in sectors where East Anglia and local companies lead the way. Better times will come, don’t lose heart.”

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