Developers of a new Moray Firth wind farm have underlined the importance of young people choosing careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by backing a new award for schools and colleges.
Caledonia Offshore Wind Farm is supporting the educational charity Scottish Schools Education Research Centre (SSERC) to provide an award for the Young STEM Leader Programme at Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework Level 7 – equivalent to Advanced Higher. The programme is a key strand of the Scottish Government’s STEM strategy.
The 2GW Caledonia project is being developed by Ocean Winds in the Moray Firth, to the east of the Beatrice, Moray West and Moray East sites, and could have as many as 150 turbines.
More than 12,000 young people are already taking part in the programme across 800 centres.
The partnership between Ocean Winds and SSERC has seen Caledonia and similar projects support STEM education through initiatives such as SusSTEMability, First Lego League and the TechFest STEM Next essay competition.
Caledonia project director Mark Baxter said: "Having partnered with SSERC for STEM support over the last year we are delighted to follow their advice to assist the development and delivery of this keenly anticipated extension to the highly regarded Young STEM Leader Programme.
"We are hopeful that the students that benefit from this programme will be inspired by the rapidly growing opportunities in the renewables sector in Scotland and internationally."
SSERC chief executive Alastair MacGregor said: "This presents a unique opportunity for SSERC to nurture existing relationships with employers and build on the success of our existing offers.
"It is hoped that the award will encourage more young people in colleges to consider becoming a Young STEM leader."
This award will allow Young STEM leaders in the senior phase of secondary school, colleges and apprenticeship programmes to carry out an evidence-based project spread across an academic year, representing 50 to 60 hours of learning. They will be expected to engage with STEM employers and institutions to ensure their project is reliable, accurate and meaningful as a research topic.
The award will be launched as a pilot scheme starting in September 2023, with a full national launch in June 2024.
Ocean Winds, which has its headquarters in Madrid, is the result of a fifty-fifty joint venture by EDP Renewables and Engie.
Caledonia held a public consultation event in Wick in November. Other sessions took place in Fraserburgh and Buckie.