Dorset school children have had their eyes opened to a career in engineering through a series of interactive workshops organised by National Grid that are aimed at sparking a passion in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.
Local students were recently given the chance to learn more about electricity generation as part of an educational programme designed to bring engineering life.
Taking part were a mix of pupils in Key Stages 1 and 2 from local schools including:
All of the sessions were run by STEMworks, an educational not-for-profit organisation, which saw the children enthusiastically getting stuck into tasks such as building their own electric bedroom door buzzers and buzz wire games.
They also had an opportunity to hear about National Grid’s fascinating engineering work currently being carried out on the nearby Going Underground* project in Dorset.
The Going Underground project will replace 22 pylons and 8.8km of wires with underground cables near the villages of Winterbourne Abbas, Winterbourne Steepleton, Martinstown and Friar Waddon, transforming the views of the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). It’s one of the first projects in the world to remove existing high-voltage electricity transmission infrastructure solely to enhance the landscape.
National Grid project engineer, Aimee Tavana, said: “The Going Underground project is a world-first project, and the local community has played an important role in shaping and supporting this scheme.
“It was fantastic to see so much excitement about the project and enthusiasm for the activities from the schoolchildren during the workshops. We really hope we’ve been able to spark some ideas and encourage them to consider engineering as a great career in the future.”
Philippa Austin, KS2 teacher at Winterbourne Valley CE VA First School, said: “The children were really engaged throughout the session and surprised themselves with their ability to produce their bedroom door buzzers. The STEMworks team was fantastic at explaining the concepts that they needed to understand as well as making the session fun and relevant.”
STEMworks aims to bring together STEM businesses and education to encourage the next generation to become passionate about science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The sessions support the National Curriculum and are offered at no cost to schools.
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*About Going Underground – Visual Impact Provision project
Going Underground is part of National Grid’s Visual Impact Provision (VIP) project, which is a national stakeholder-led programme to reduce the visual impact of existing high voltage power lines in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and National Parks across England and Wales.
All electricity transmission owners are funded by a price control mechanism which is agreed with and set by Ofgem, the electricity and gas markets regulator. Ofgem has now agreed a set of price controls and incentives for the period from April 2021 to March 2026. The new price controls and incentives include a provision to mitigate the visual impact of existing electricity infrastructure in nationally protected landscapes in Great Britain.
For National Grid, which is the electricity transmission owner in England and Wales, this means considering the visual amenity of our existing infrastructure in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and National Parks.