Plugging the UK’s green skills shortage: National Grid engages over 85,000 young Londoners through its workplace to classroom programme

  • £1.3m partnership between National Grid and social enterprise Connectr provides 85,000 students across 168 London schools with the tools to pursue green and STEM-based careers.
  • Launched as part of the London Power Tunnels project, which is rewiring South London, it addresses social mobility issues in some of the Capital’s most underprivileged areas.
  • Taking the workplace into the classroom, it's estimated that the programme will contribute £4.1m in economic output by reducing the likelihood of its participants falling out of education, employment, or training between 16 and 18 years old.

National Grid has reached a significant milestone in its ongoing commitment to help the UK plug its green skills gap and inspire the next generation of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) leaders through its £1.3m Schools Engagement Programme. 

Run in conjunction with social enterprise Connectr, the programme has reached more than 85,000 students, putting National Grid ahead of schedule to meet its target of engaging 100,000 students before 2025. 

Launched in 2020 as part of the £1 billion London Power Tunnels project, which is rewiring South London via 32km of deep underground tunnels, the joint outreach programme supports secondary school pupils in some of the Capital's most underprivileged areas with the tools and inspiration they need to pursue STEM-based careers. With newly released figures showing that National Grid’s £1.3m investment to date will contribute an estimated £4.1m in economic output by helping to reduce the likelihood of its participants falling out of education, employment, or training between the ages of 16 to 181.

The programme includes a series of in-person STEM workshops, career talks, resources for teachers, and in-person work experience opportunities with the London Power Tunnels project team. And, out of the 85,000 pupils that have engaged with the programme so far, 651 young people have also taken part in work experience, with 95% of those reporting increased confidence, as well as improved communication and problem-solving skills. Across the programme, 91% of participants said they had a better understanding of the skills needed to pursue a career in STEM, while 61% were inspired to consider a career at National Grid. 

These numbers are promising given the energy sector alone needs to fill 400,000 new jobs before 2050 to hit the government’s net zero targets, with around 89,000 of these jobs predicted to be located in London and the South East2. Furthermore, the economy suffers a loss of £1.5bn a year due to STEM skills shortages3, with businesses reporting limited awareness of the types of jobs available and a lack of meaningful work experience as key barriers. 

As an employer of more than 22,000 people, National Grid recognises the scale of this challenge and, through the programme, aims to help address the issue of social mobility and provide inspiration to students who may not have otherwise considered a career in the energy industry.

Onur Aydemir, London Power Tunnels Project Director, said: "Growing our next generation of STEM leaders starts with our young people. The programme brings engineering to life for students, helping them to practice and develop solutions for complex problems. It's a perfect fit with our aim to encourage and inspire young people to work on ground-breaking projects, showing them a STEM career is one with purpose and an exciting future. 

Jules Pipe, Deputy Mayor of London for Planning, Regeneration and Skills, said: “The partnership between National Grid and Connectr is an excellent example of how organisations can help introduce young people to careers in the energy and technology sectors and it’s great that they have already supported over 85,000 students in first three years. More employers like National Grid are needed to help bring the workplace to the classroom.”

Aliyah, a work experience student engaged through the programme, said: “I had the pleasure of meeting some incredibly funny and helpful employees from various disciplines. Their insights not only ignited my deep interest in understanding the intricate workings of the world, including physics, engineering, and climate sciences but also showcased the strength of interdisciplinary teamwork on the project. This experience has left me inspired, motivated, and eager to continue exploring ways to make a positive impact on our environment and society. Step by step, we march onwards on our path to net zero!”

With the first few years of the school engagement programme now well underway, National Grid will be looking to stretch it further in years four and five, pipelining engaged students into school leaver roles at the FTSE 100 business. This will provide stable career pathways while also supporting the company’s drive to recruit from a pool of diverse talent.

The Connectr partnership is one of a range of initiatives that National Grid is involved in that aim to encourage greater social mobility in the energy sector and earlier in November, the company was ranked as one of the top 50 UK employers in the Social Mobility Employer Index 2023. The index shows how various organisations perform in eight areas of employer-led social mobility and is an annual benchmarking and assessment tool for employers, run by the Social Mobility Foundation.

Read the full London Power Tunnels social impact report




Contact for media information only

Michael Osiyale 

National Grid 
+44 (0)7743 983 134

[email protected]



Notes to editors

About London Power Tunnels

London Power Tunnels is a seven-year, £1 billion project, led by National Grid, to rewire South London via deep underground tunnels. This vital work will help keep Londoners connected to safe and reliable electricity supplies, with the 32.5km tunnel passing through seven London boroughs approximately 30m below ground. Read more about the second, ongoing phase of London Power Tunnels on our website.

About National Grid in the UK

National Grid sits at the heart of Britain’s energy system. The individual companies in our group run the networks and infrastructure that connect millions of people to the electricity they use every day.

Our regulated businesses own and develop the high voltage electricity transmission (ET) network in England and Wales, and the electricity distribution (ED) network in the Midlands, South West England and South Wales. The electricity system operator (ESO) is the legally separate (and in the process of becoming fully independent) arm of our group which manages supply and demand on Britain's electricity transmission networks. Operating separately from these core regulated units, National Grid Ventures (NGV) focusses on competitive markets, investing in energy projects, technologies and partnerships such as electricity interconnectors.

We bring energy to life, with an ambition to serve our customers well, support the communities in which we operate, and make possible a clean, affordable and resilient energy network of the future.

About Connectr

Connectr is a leading provider of talent solutions that enable employers to interact and engage with young people. Connectr delivers three core offerings; school and student engagement programmes, recruitment of talent – in both apprenticeships and graduates – and a tech-enabled career-development platform, offering students the ability to interact with employers. Connectr has already meaningfully impacted over 200,000 students through its offerings and continues to provide the younger generation with opportunities to kickstart their career. For more information, visit 



London Power Tunnels Project Social Impact Report (2020-23) – National Grid 

2 Building The Net Zero Energy Workforce (2020) – National Grid

3STEM Skills Indicator (2018) -STEM Learning