Innovative STEM workshops a success
Over 100 pupils from Buckie High School, Keith Grammar and Grantown Grammar gained key employment skills last week from innovative STEM sessions funded by renewables developer, Vattenfall.
The workshops took place over four days and helped students learn how to design an onshore wind farm using specialised Virtual Reality (VR) software developed by 3DW.
The sessions involved students working in project teams to study maps and identify planning constraints before creating and exploring a 3D visualisation of their wind farm design through a VR headset. Students then undertook financial modelling for their project and were coached on presentation skills before delivering a presentation on their project to the class.
Hannah Penman, PT of Physics Teacher at Buckie High School, described the workshops as:
“Very engaging and enjoyed by all. Super activities for pupils. Presenters were fab too!”
Ruth Jenkins, PT of Physics and Engineering, Science Education and Social Care at Keith Grammar, added:
“The workshop gave the students a valuable insight into the processes involved in planning a wind farm using technology and software actually used in the renewables industry. It was also an opportunity for the students to develop skills and knowledge which will enable them to succeed in the workplace.”
Lucy Blake, Vattenfall’s Project Manager for Aultmore Wind Farm, explained:
“Vattenfall is committed to responsible development and working with the local communities neighbouring our projects. Having signed up to the Young Person's Guarantee, Vattenfall is delighted to support these STEM sessions at Buckie, Keith and Grantown Schools, which play such a vital role within the local community and neighbour our Aultmore Wind Farm proposal in Moray and the Ourack Wind Farm proposal in the Highlands.
“We have a strong track record for maximising local content within our supply chain and, if consented, it is our hope that these projects add to local employment opportunities locally and more broadly within Scotland's growing renewables industry.”
In addition to STEM activities with local schools, Vattenfall is developing an onshore wind apprenticeship programme for Scotland that would secure 50 apprenticeships by 2030, subject to planning consent. To achieve this, Vattenfall will work closely with Tier 1 and Tier 2 contractors with the aim of securing 10 apprenticeships for each of their Scottish onshore wind projects. Aultmore and Ourack are developments that would be considered as part of this initiative should they receive consent.
New onshore wind is one of the cheapest ways to generate electricity and is quicker to build than, for example, offshore wind. In addition, it increases energy security by reducing reliance on imports.
With the Scottish Government’s net zero targets and ambition to effectively double onshore wind to 20GW by 2030, the renewables sector is set to continue to grow significantly. In December, Scottish Renewables reported that in 2021 Scotland’s renewable energy industry and its supply chain supported more than 42,000 jobs and generated over £10.1 billion of economic output, with over 12,000 of these jobs stemming from onshore wind.