01/15/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/15/2021 06:36

RWE’s Sofia new schools programmes aim to unlock future offshore careers

RWE's single largest offshore wind farm project, Sofia, is launching two new school careers programmes as part of the company's wider commitment to encouraging young people to join the UK's rapidly growing renewables sector.

RWE is committed to supporting education initiatives that help students navigate successfully into renewables careers, with the delivery of skills and education initiatives at the heart of RWE's latest offshore projects.

Both programmes will specifically support and encourage pupils and teachers within the Teesside area, where the 1.4 gigawatt Sofia offshore wind farm will shortly begin construction of its onshore infrastructure.

RWE Renewables Chief Commercial Officer and UK Country Chair Tom Glover on RWE's engagement, said: 'Offshore wind is one of the most exciting growth industries in the UK, with significant buildout targets already set by government. While the UK offshore industry already employs thousands of people, this number must grow significantly if we are to achieve these ambitious targets. By developing targeted careers resources such as those being launched by RWE's Sofia project today, we aim to attract new and diverse talent into our business, to bring in fresh ideas and fresh thinking. We work very closely with local education specialists and communities in order to deliver the best opportunities for those living near to where our projects are located.'

The packages, one for primary and one for secondary schools, are the latest in a growing list of careers support, information and advice from RWE, which is the world's second largest offshore wind company, and a leading business in the UK's growing renewables industry.

Offshore wind provides opportunities for high-quality, skilled jobs and is particularly beneficial to coastal towns and communities where the need for new local jobs is significant. The UK Government's recent 10 Point Plan for a 'green recovery' points to a huge future potential for the renewables industry, anticipating investment of around £12billion and the creation of some 250,000 jobs. The offshore sector alone aims to create an additional 10,000 new jobs to help deliver the UK's net zero ambitions.

Sofia Offshore Wind Farm's primary school programme will involve partnering with local multi-academy Tees Valley Education Trust, to create offshore wind teaching resources for around 20 primary schools within the catchment area of its onshore infrastructure. There will be online teacher workshops provided to support the materials, which will be widely shared through education websites.

Sofia's secondary school education initiative is called 'Sofia Champions for Wind', and focusses on supporting teachers to develop their own subject-specific curriculum materials. Five teachers from Redcar schools have been named as 'champions', whereby they will design resources to teach their students - aged from 12 to 18 - about offshore wind and its career opportunities.

The programme will be assessed by a team from Teesside University who will manage entrance and exit research of both the teachers and their students, to gauge changes in awareness and attitudes and measure the effectiveness of the scheme.

Sofia Offshore Wind Farm is a fully RWE-owned project, located 195 kilometres from the North East coast on Dogger Bank in the central North Sea. It offshore export cable connection will land onshore at a location between Redcar and Marske-by-the-Sea. There it will join a seven-kilometre-long onshore cable that will carry the power to a new onshore converter station to be built adjacent to the Wilton Complex, near the village of Lazenby.

Sofia's final investment decision, and the start of its onshore construction is on track for March this year.