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Kirkley's team lift High Energy prize

PUBLISHED: 21:12 12 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:20 06 July 2010

AN initiative aimed at attracting more school pupils into the energy industry is being stepped up as demand grows from the offshore wind, gas and nuclear sectors in the East of England.

AN initiative aimed at attracting more school pupils into the energy industry is being stepped up as demand grows from the offshore wind, gas and nuclear sectors in the East of England.

The team behind the annual High Energy Schools' Challenge plan to make an even bigger impact in classrooms across the region and have just launched their first website to promote the project.

“From its humble beginnings in the classrooms of Great Yarmouth, the Challenge has developed into one of the largest school intervention programmes in the energy industry in the East of England,” said Stuart Thornton, operations manager for EEEGR (East of England Energy Group).

He said the new website provided a focal point as well as increasing the access to information on the industry. Its launch signified a step change in the size and shape of the Challenge which aims to visit at least 18 schools in the region this year.

The finals of the 2009 event were filmed in High Definition and can be viewed on the new website which also offers schools the chance to view the entire series and download interactive classroom versions, podcasts, promotional DVDs and a Skills for Energy interview.

“Although we are focused on the East of England, the website means the benefits are available to young people across the UK and beyond,” said Mr Thornton.

Connor Bligh, captain of the 2009 winning team from Kirkley High School, Lowestoft, said: “It's really been beneficial and now I've got a really open mind to a career in the energy industry.”

The 2010 challenge gets under way in May with an Energy Treasure Hunt which encourages pupils to research facts and figures about the industry. From that, eight teams will be chosen to compete for the filmed finals of the quiz at the Epic Studios in Norwich in September.

Celia Anderson, skills director of EEEGR, including Skills for Energy, said: “The need to extend the skilled workforce in our region to support this multi-billion pound industry is immediate and real.

“I'm delighted to see the schools' challenge being stepped up as it is a wonderfully successful way of attracting, and educating, young people at the earliest opportunity. It increases their understanding of the exciting and long-term career opportunities available in the industry which is, after all, on our doorstep. The most important aspect of this initiative is that it is fully supported by the industry.”

John Best, chief executive of EEEGR, added: “I have already urged the local supply chain to react positively to cash in on this energy bonanza in our region and now we need schools and teachers and careers advisors to recognise just what opportunities are opening up for our young people over the next decade.”

More information on www.highenergyschoolschallenge.org.uk

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