'There’s never been a more important time to get this right’23 Aug 2021
With the risk of employment uncertainty in the post-pandemic world, and with many of our young people impacted by education and social challenges, we have an opportunity to use our net zero future as a springboard to turn this tide.
Dogger Bank Wind Farm is a key asset for the north and north-east of England. It will create and support thousands of jobs, as well as ensuring clean energy for future generations with the capacity to power 6 million UK homes.
We take seriously our responsibility to develop the wind farm sustainably and part of this is our social commitment to share the benefit with coastal communities. Together with our partners Equinor and Eni, we will invest £1 million during the construction of the wind farm and have committed to focusing on enhancing STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) attainment to ensure young people are prepared for the jobs of the future.
We made a commitment when we were developing the wind farm that we would invest in STEM as we have a responsibility to make sure young people are ready for the job opportunities on their doorstep. What we didn’t foresee was that we would be delivering this commitment during a pandemic!
Young people have had to experience social isolation and virtual learning in the last 18 months and we have an opportunity to use our net zero future to help them thrive during the pandemic recovery and beyond.
We have taken our commitment to local areas seriously – we have listened to education and skills partners and it is their expertise and local priorities which has determined what the STEM funding focuses on from early years in East Riding of Yorkshire to school transition in South Tyneside. This approach ensures it maximises its impact for the 25,000 young people in these local areas.
Our net zero future promises roles that will be challenging and rewarding in equal measure. From the turbine technicians who ensure the wind farms achieve optimum performance to the planning experts who will bring us even larger and more innovative wind farms in the future. The energy transition is one of society’s most pressing priorities and we have a responsibility to inspire and support the experts who will be the key to its success.
We know from our experience engaging with local schools how keen young people are to challenge themselves to live sustainable lives. In a recent visit to Skipsea Primary School in East Riding a colleague was asked by an 8-year-old boy whether she bought her electricity from renewable energy sources. The smart boy cleverly pointed out the electric vehicle she arrived in would only help the planet if she was buying her fuel from sustainable providers. We may be the trailblazers of offshore wind but it’s the eight-year-olds of today who will shape our tomorrow.
As we continue to build the world’s largest offshore wind farm at Dogger Bank, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to improve the lives of people living in the coastal communities where we’re installing our infrastructure. And there’s never been a more important time to get this right.